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" Fortes creantur fortibus, et bonis. 
Doctrina sed vim promovit insitam, 
Reclique cultus pectora roborant ; 
Utcunque defecere mores, 
Indecorant bene nata culpae." 

— Hor. B. iv. Ode 4. 

" 'Tis of the brave and good alone 

That good and brave men are the seed ; 
Yet training quickens power unborn, 

And culture nerves the soul for fame ; 
But he must live a life of scorn 

"Who bears a noble name, 
Yet blurs it with the soil of infamy and shame." 

— Sir Theodore Martin. 



J. S. VIRTUE & CO., Limited, 26, IVY LANE 






















iv Contents. 










Earldom of Menteith 423 

The Angus Douglases 423 

The Last Earl of Wintoun . ..... . 426 

The Campbells of Argyll . 426 

The Two Beautiful Gunnings .427 

The Lauderdale Maitlands 428 

The Ersrines of Kellie 429 

The Family of the Hays 431 



|HE founder of the Maxwell family is said to have been a 
certain Maccus, the son of Undwin, a Saxon noble, who 
at the Norman Conquest took refuge in Scotland. He 
was a distinguished person in the reigns of Alexander I. 
and David I., and received from the latter a grant of fertile lands on 
the banks of the Tweed, near Kelso, which from him received the 
appellation of Maccuswell, and, abbreviated into Maxwell, became 
the designation of his descendants. He witnessed an inquest which 
David ordered to be made about the year 1116. A Herbert de 
Maccuswel, who died in 1 143, made a grant of the Church of 
Maccuswel to the monastery of Kelso. A Sir John de Maccuswel 
was Sheriff of Roxburgh and Teviotdale in 1207, and held the 
office of Great Chamberlain from 1231 to 1233. His son, Aymer 
de Maxwell, was Sheriff of Dumfriesshire and Chamberlain of 
Scotland. He obtained also the office of Justiciary of Galloway. 
By his marriage with the daughter and heiress of Roland de 
Mearns, he obtained the land and baronies of Mearns and Nether- 
Pollok in Renfrewshire, and Dryps and Calderwood in Lanarkshire. 
His second son, John, was the founder of the Nether - Pollok 
branch of the family, on whom a baronetcy was conferred in 
1682. Throughout the perilous and trying times of the War of 
Independence, the Maxwells, like many other Scottish nobles of 
the Saxon and Anglo-Norman race, repeatedly changed sides. In 


2 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

the year 1300, Sir Herbert Maxwell, grandson of Sir John held 
he stron. casle of Carlaverock for the patriotic cause, and was 
letieged bv a powerful English army under Edward I., accompanied 
Iwhifson afterwards Edward II., then a youth of seventeen years. 
&eno the most illustrious barons of England were in this 
Sfndudingknights of Bretagne and *™^f£^£ 
so stron- a castle,' says a contemporary chronicler, that it did no 
earSei therefore the King came himself because it would not 
consent to surrender. But it was always furnished for its defence 
whenever it was required with men, engines, and provisions. Its shape 
was like that of a shield, for it had only three sides all round with a 
tower in each angle, but one of them was a double one so high, so 
Ion?, and so large, that under it was the gate, with a drawbridge 
well-made and strong, and a sufficiency of other defences. It had 
aood walls, and good ditches filled to the edge with water ; and I 
believe there never was seen a castle so beautifully situated, for at 
once could be seen the Irish Sea towards the west, and to the north 
a fine country, surrounded by an arm of the sea, so that no creature 
born could approach it on two sides without putting himself in 
danger of the sea. Towards the south it was not easy, because there 
were numerous dangerous defiles of wood and marshes, and ditches 
where the sea is on each side of it, and where the river reaches it ; 
and therefore it was necessary for the host to approach towards the 
east, where the hill slopes.' 

The Maxwells, under their gallant chief, made a vigorous defence, 
showering upon their assailants such ■ huge stones, quarrels, and 
arrows, and with wounds and bruises they were so hurt ^ and 
exhausted that it was with very great difficulty they were able to 
retire.' But though the operations of the siege proceeded slowly, 
the besieged were at length compelled to surrender, when it was 
found that the garrison which had thus defied the whole English army 
amounted to only sixty men, « who were beheld,' says the chronicler, 
' with much astonishment.' Possession of the castle was subsequently 
restored to Sir Eustace Maxwell, Sir Herbert's son, who at first 
embraced the cause of John Baliol, and in 13 12 received from 
Edward II. an allowance of twenty pounds for the more secure 
keeping of the fortress. He afterwards, however, gave in his adhe- 
rence to Robert Bruce, and his castle in consequence underwent 
a second siege by the English, in which they were unsuccess- 
ful. But fearing that this important stronghold might ultimately 

The Maxwells. 5 

fall into the hands of the enemy, and enable them to make g-ood 
their hold on the district, Sir Eustace dismantled the fortress-— a 
service and sacrifice for which he was liberally rewarded by Robert 

Though the chiefs of the Maxwells were by no means consistent 
in their course, or steady in their allegiance during the reign of 
David II., they contrived in the end to be on the winning side, and 
honours, offices, and estates continued to accumulate in the family. 
They were Wardens of the West Marches, Stewards of Kirkcud- 
bright, Stewards of Annandale, ambassadors to England, and 
Provosts of Edinburgh. They were created Lords of Parliament, 
with the titles of Baron Maxwell, Baron Hemes, Baron Eskdale,' 
and Baron Carlyle, Earl of Morton, and Earl of Nithsdale. They 
intermarried with the Stewarts, Douglases, Setons, Crichtons, Hamil- 
tons, Herrieses, and other powerful families, and spread out their 
branches on all sides. If the Maxwells had succeeded, like the 
heads of the great houses of Hamilton, Douglas, and Scott, in 
retaining possession of the estates which belonged to them in the 
sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, they would have been among 
the three or four most extensive landowners in Scotland at the 
present time. Sir Herbert Maxwell, of Carlaverock, was 
knighted at the coronation of James I., March 16th, 1441, and 
some years afterwards he was created a Lord of Parliament, on the 
forfeiture of the Douglases in 1455. Robert, the second Lord 
Maxwell, obtained a grant of Eskdale, which remained for nearly 
two centuries in the possession of the family, but is now the 
property of the Duke of Buccleuch. John, fourth Lord Maxwell, 
fell at Flodden, along with three of his brothers. Robert, his 
eldest son and successor, was one of the most powerful nobles in 
the kingdom, and took a prominent part in public affairs during the 
reign of James V. and the Regency of Arran. He was appointed 
Warden of the Western Marches, Lord Provost of Edinburgh, and 
a member of the Secret Council, when King James was declared of 
age to assume the government of the realm. He accompanied 
that monarch in his celebrated raid to the Borders which proved 
fatal to Johnnie Armstrong and a number of other Border reivers. 
According to the tradition of the district, this catastrophe was mainly 
due to the treachery of Lord Maxwell, who seized the Armstrongs 
on their journey from Eskdale to pay their homage to the King, 
and pretended to James that these stalwart freebooters had no inten- 

4 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

tion of coming voluntarily into his presence, but had been forcibly 
brought to him for the purpose of receiving- the punishment which 
thev deserved for their offences. This allegation receives some 
corroboration from the fact that Maxwell obtained from the King 
a gift of the forfeited lands of the Armstrongs, which are declared 
in the charter to have been bestowed upon him for his services 
in bringing John Armstrong to justice. If so, the curse which 
accompanies ill-gotten gear seems to have rested on the gift. 

Lord Maxwell appears to have stood high in the esteem and con- 
fidence of King James. On his Majesty's escape, in 1528, from the 
thraldom in which he was held by the Douglases, Maxwell was 
immediately summoned to his Council, and received a grant of 
the lordships of Crawford-Douglas, and Drumsiar, a portion of the 
forfeited estates of the Earl of Angus. In 1532 he was created 
an Extraordinary Lord of Session; in 1536 he was appointed one of 
the members of the Council of Regency, during the absence of the 
King in France; and in the following year he was one of the 
ambassadors sent to the French Court to negotiate the marriage 
of James to Mar}'- of Guise, whom he espoused as proxy for the 

Lord Maxwell was taken prisoner at the disgraceful rout of Solway 
Moss, in 1542. He was on foot, endeavouring to restore some degree 
of order in the confused and panic-stricken ranks of the Scottish forces, 
and was urged to mount his horse and fly. He replied, ' Nay, I will 
rather abide here the chance that it shall please God to send me, than 
go home and be hanged.' He received his liberty in 1543, along 
with the other nobles, on subscribing a bond to acknowledge Henry 
as lord superior of the kingdom of Scotland, to do their utmost to put 
the government of the country and its fortresses into the hands of 
the English King, and to have the infant princess delivered to him 
and brought up in England, with the intention of ultimately marry- 
ing her to his son Prince Edward. They were also pledged to return 
to their captivity in England if they failed to carry this project into 
effect. Lord Maxwell was the only one of the whole number who 
was faithful to his pledge, and was sent to the Tower by King 
Henry in return for his honourable conduct. The Master of Max- 
well, the Earl's eldest son, also fell into the hands of the English in 
1545, and every effort was made to induce them to agree to give 
up ail their strongholds to the English King. Maxwell's offer to 
prove himself a true Englishman by serving under Hertford against 

The Maxwells. c 

Scotland was not satisfactory to Henry, and he at last succeeded 
in extorting from the Baron the strong castle of Carlaverock as 
the price of his liberty, ' quhilk was a great discomfort to the 
countrie.' The Regent Arran, however, succeeded in recovering 
this important fortress, and in capturing the other two castles, 
Lochmaben and Thrieve, belonging to Maxwell, whom he put in 
prison at Dumfries. After the murder of Cardinal Beaton, Maxwell 
was set at liberty, and having made a public and solemn protestation 
that it was from ' fear and danger ' of his life that he had given up 
Carlaverock to the English, his castle of Lochmaben was restored 
to him, and he was appointed Warden of the West Marches. 

It appears that during his captivity in England, Lord Maxwell 
had become favourable to the doctrines of the Reformed Church, 
though there is no evidence that he had joined its communion. It 
was he who introduced into the first Parliament of Queen Mary— 
1542-43 — a Bill to secure the people liberty to possess and to read 
the sacred Scriptures in the vernacular tongue, but under the 
restriction that ' na man despute or hold opinions under the pains 
contenit in the Acts of Parliament.' The measure was approved 
by the Regent Arran, and passed into a law. 'So,' says John 
Knox, ' by Act of Parliament it was maid free to all men and 
women to reid the Scriptures in their awen toung, or in the English 
toung : and so was all actes maid on the contrair abolished. . . Then 
mycht have been seen the Byble lying almaist upoun evrie gentle- 
manis table. The New Testament was borne about in many manis 
handes. We grant that some (alace !) prophaned that blessed wourd; 
for some that, perchance, had never it maist common in thare hand : 
thei would chope thare familiares on the cheak with it, and say, 
" This has lyne hyd under my bed-feitt these ten years." Others 
wold glorie, " O ! how oft have I bein in danger for this booke : 
how secreatlie have I stollen fra my wyff at mydnicht to reid 
upoun it." ' 

Lord Maxwell, besides the offices of Master of the Royal House- 
hold, and Chief Carver to the King, obtained large grants of land 
in the counties of Dumfries, Kirkcudbright, Roxburgh, Perth, and 
Lanark. The extent of his influence is made evident by the fact 
that he received bonds of man-rent from such powerful barons as 
Murray of Cockpool, ancestor of the Earls of Mansfield ; Douglas 
of Drumlanrig, ancestor of the Dukes and Marquises of Queens- 
berry ; Stewart of Garlies, ancestor of the Earls of Galloway ; John- 

6 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

stone of Johnstone, ancestor of the Marquises of Annandale ; Gordon 
of Lochinvar, ancestor of the Viscounts Kenmure ; and from other 
influential Nithsdale and Galloway families. 

Robert, fifth Lord Maxwell, died in 1 546. His younger son Sir 
John Maxwell of Terregles, married Agnes, the daughter of the 
third Lord Herries, and succeeded to that title as the first Lord 
1 lorries of the house of Maxwell. The elder sou- 
Robert, sixth Lord Maxwell, ' appears to have been a manofa 
courageous, impetuous, and energetic character, but his early death 
prevented his attaining the conspicuous and influential position which 
his father held.' His wife, Lady Beatrix Douglas, was a grand- 
daughter of James, the third, and daughter of James, the fourth 
Earl of Morton, and co-heiress of the earldom. Her younger sister 
married James Douglas, nephew of Archibald, Earl of Angus, who 
through her obtained the title, and became the celebrated Regent 
Morton. As we have seen, Earl Robert, in his father's lifetime, 
was imprisoned in England, and was permitted to return to his 
native country only on condition that he would promote the sinister 
designs of the English King on the independence of Scotland. In 
return for some pecuniary assistance which Maxwell asked, the emis- 
saries of Henry strove hard to induce him to give up the castle ot 
Lochmaben ; but this, it appears, he was unable or unwilling to do. 
The bloody feud which raged so long between the Maxwells and the 
Johnstones seems to have originated at this time, in consequence of 
the Laird of Johnstone having violated the obligations of man-rent, 
by which he bound himself to assist Lord Maxwell in all his just 
and honest actions. Wharton, the English Warden, informed the 
Earl of Shrewsbury that he had used means to create discord 
between the Johnstones and the Maxwells. He had offered the 
Laird of Johnstone 3C0 crowns, his brother, the Abbot of Soulseat, 
100, and his followers 100, on condition that he would put the 
Master of Maxwell into his power. Johnstone, he said, had entered 
into the plot, but he and his friends ' were all so false that he knew 
n..t what to say/ He placed very little confidence in them. But 
he would be ' glad to annoy and entrap the Master of Maxwell or 
the Laird of Johnscone, to the King's Majestie's honour, and his 
own poor honesty.'* 

• The Book of Car laverock, i. p. 213. By William Frazer, LL.D. 

TJie Maxwells. y 

There was so much double-dealing and treachery on both sides, 
that it was impossible to put much confidence in any of the leaders. 
The Master of Maxwell, in order to obtain his father's liberation 
from the Tower, promised to the English ambassador that he would 
do his utmost to promote the English interests, but he did ' his 
Majesty no manner of service,' On the other hand, the Governor 
and the Lords of the Scottish Council compelled him to give 
security that he would loyally keep the houses of Carlaverock, Loch- 
maben, and the Thrieve, for the Queen, from ' their enemies of 
England.' Douglas of Drumlanrig, Gordon of Lochinvar, Stewart 
of Garlies, and other influential barons, were his pledges for the 
fulfilment of his bond. The Master was, however, shortly after, in 
1545, taken prisoner in an unsuccessful expedition, and carried to 
London, where his father had for some time been in captivity. He 
remained in England until the year 1549, when he was exchanged 
for Sir Thomas Palmer. 

Lord Maxwell died in 1552, having been only six years in the 
position of chief of the family. He had two sons, Robert, who suc- 
ceeded his father as seventh Lord, but who died when only four years 
of age, and John, a posthumous child, who became eighth Lord 
Maxwell, and was afterwards created Earl of Morton. In the critical 
state of the country at that time, a long minority might have been 
highly prejudicial to the interests of the family, but fortunately 
the infant noble had for his guardian his uncle, Sir John Maxwell of 
Terregles, under whose judicious and careful management the pos- 
sessions and influence of the house were fully maintained. Lord 
Maxwell at an early age enrolled himself among the supporters of 
Queen Mary, and suffered severely for his adherence to her cause. 
His estates were laid waste, and his castles of Dumfries and Carla- 
verock were thrown down in 1570 by a powerful English army under 
the Earl of Sussex. Lord Maxwell and his uncle attended the Par- 
liament held in the name of the Queen at Edinburgh, June 12, 1 5 7 1, 
in opposition to the meeting convened by the Earl of Lennox, the 
Regent, a few weeks earlier, at the head of the Canongate. The 
young noble, to the great satisfaction of his retainers and the 
numerous branches of his house, soon made it evident that he pos- 
sessed the courage and intrepidity which had distinguished his grand- 
father; and his marriage, in the twentieth year of his age, to the 
youngest daughter of the seventh Earl of Angus, brought him into 
close alliance with the great houses of Douglas and Hamilton, the 

8 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

Scotts of Buccleuch, and the Earl of Bothwell. Not long after his 
marriage he submitted to the Government carried on in the name 
of James VI., and obtained from the Regent Morton the office of 
Warden of the West Marches. The harmony between him and that 
imperious and grasping noble was not of long continuance. The 
claim which Lord Maxwell preferred to the earldom and title of 
Morton roused the jealousy of the Regent, and ultimately led to a 

violent quarrel. 

The third Earl of Morton left three daughters, but no son. The 
eldest became the wife of the Earl of Arran, Duke of Chatel- 
herault; the second married Robert, sixth Lord Maxwell; and 
the third became the wife of James Douglas the Regent, brother of 
the Earl of Angus. The Earl of Morton settled his earldom and 
estates upon Elizabeth, his youngest daughter, and her husband and 
male issue, and the settlement was confirmed by the Crown in the 
year 1543. Lord Maxwell, however, refused to acquiesce in this 
settlement, which he considered unjust, and asserted his right to the 
earldom on the ground that as heir to his mother he was entitled to 
one-third of the earldom, that he had a right to another third by the 
demission which he alleged had been executed in his favour by his 
aunt, the Duchess of Chatelherault, with the consent of her husband 
and son ; and that he was heir-apparent of Lady Elizabeth, the 
Regent's wife, who had no issue. The Regent ' pressed by all means 
that Lord Morton should renounce his title thereto, of whilk he 
refusing, he commanded him to prison in the castle of Edinburgh, 
where lykwayes refusing to renounce, he was sent to Blackness, and 
from thence to St. Andrews, where he and Lord Ogilvie abode 
till the March thereafter.' Morton deprived Lord Maxwell of the 
Wardenship of the Western Marches, and conferred it on the Laird 
of Johnstone, the hereditary enemy of his house. He obtained his 
release, however, and was restored to this office after the downfall 
of Morton in 1577, and took a prominent part in the factious con- 
tendings of that day, which at one time threatened to lead to a civil 
war. Shortly after his reinstatement in the Wardenship, a case 
occurred which throws great light on the arbitrary and barbarous 
manner in which the jurisdiction entrusted to the nobles in those 
days was exercised. A summons was raised by John Bek, taskar, 
against Lord Maxwell for personal maltreatment. It was affirmed 
that Lord Maxwell had put the complainer in prison in the place of 
Carlaverock, in which he was detained for ten days, and at last taken 

The Maxwells. g 

out and conveyed to a woodside adjoining, where he was bound hand 
and foot to a tree, and then a small cord being- tied about his head, 
was twisted round with a pin until his ' ene [eyes] lapened upon his 
cheikes.' And all this barbarous treatment he asserted was inflicted 
on him because he would not bear false testimony against John 
Schortrig, of Marcholme, as to alleged wrongs done by him to Lord 
Maxwell in reference to certain corns. After being thus cruelly 
tortured, Bek was again committed to prison. The case came before 
the Privy Council at Stirling, but Lord Maxwell did not appear to 
answer to the charge, and was ordered to set poor Bek at liberty 
within three days under pain of rebellion.* 

Lord Maxwell became closely associated with the royal favourites, 
Esme Stewart, Lord d'Aubigny, and the profligate and unprincipled 
Captain James Stewart, afterwards Earl of Arran, the bitter enemies 
of Regent Morton, by whom he was brought to the block. After 
Morton's forfeiture and execution Maxwell obtained from King 
James, no doubt through their influence, a grant both of the title and 
of the lands of the earldom of Morton. The success of the conspiracy 
known as the ' Raid of Ruthven,' however, expelled from the Court 
the worthless favourites of the young King, and placed Maxwell in 
opposition to the dominant party. Complaints, no doubt well founded, 
were made regarding the disturbed state of the Borders under his 
Wardenship, and it appeared that his ' household men, servants, or 
tenants, dwelling upon his lands, or within the jurisdiction of his 
Wardenry, many of them being of the name of Armstrong, accom- 
panied by some of the Grahams, Englishmen, and others, their 
accomplices, common thieves, to the number of nine score persons, 
went, on 30th October, 1582, under silence, to the lands of Easter 
Montberengier, and carried off eighteen score of sheep, with plenish- 
ing estimated at the value of 290 merks. Immediately thereafter, 
or on the same night, they proceeded to the lands of Dewchar, from 
which they stole twenty-two score of sheep, twenty-four kye and 
oxen, and plenishing worth 100 merks; and the lands of Whitehope 
they despoiled of two hundred sheep and oxen, and three horses, 
with plenishing worth 100 merks.' To crown all, they seized upon 
Thomas Dalgleish and Adam Scott, two of the persons whom they 
had ruthlessly plundered, and ' forcibly carried them into Annan- 
dale, in which, and sometimes in England and in other parts, they 
kept them in strait prison in irons, and shamefully bound the said 

* Book of Car laverock, i. p. 236. 


The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

Thomas to a tree with fetters, intending to compel them to pay an 
exorbitant ransom.' The same course is followed at the present 
day by the banditti in Greece and in some parts of Italy. 

Such deeds as these were not likely to pass unnoticed and 
unpunished at a time when Lord Maxwell's friends were out of 
favour at Court, and he was summoned by the sufferers to appear 
before the Privy Council, and to present the persons who had com- 
mitted the said crimes. As might have been expected, he failed to 
appear and answer the charges against him. He had been ordered 
by the Council to present before the King and Lords of the Council 
certain persons, Armstrongs and Beatties, under a heavy penalty, to 
answer for ' all the crimes that could be laid to their charge.' The 
Council, therefore, ordered him to be denounced as a rebel, and he 
was deprived of the office of Warden of the West Marches, which 
was conferred upon the rival of the Maxwells, the Laird of Johnstone. 

The escape of the King from the Ruthven lords, and the conse- 
quent return of Arran to power, produced an immediate change in 
Morton's relations to the Court. The nobles who had taken part in 
the Raid mustered their forces and took possession of Stirling Castle. 
On the other hand James, with the assistance of Morton, assembled 
an army of twelve thousand men to vindicate his authority, and on 
his approach to Stirling the insurgents disbanded their forces and 
fled into England. But the friendly feeling between the royal 
favourite and the Earl of Morton was not of long continuance. 
Arran had obtained a grant of the barony of Kinneil through the 
forfeiture of the Hamiltons, and he endeavoured to prevail upon 
Morton to accept this estate in exchange for his barony of M earns 
and the lands of Maxwellheugh. Morton naturally refused to barter 
the ancient inheritance of his family for lands which a revolution at 
Court would almost certainly restore to their rightful owners. The 
worthless favourite was greatly incensed at this refusal, and speedily 
made Morton feel the weight of his resentment. He set himself to 
revive the old feud between the Maxwells and the Johnstones. The 
Earl was denounced as a rebel by the Council, on the plea that he 
had failed to present before their lordships two persons of the name 
of Armstrong, whom it was alleged he had protected in their depre- 
dations. He was ordered to enter his person within six days in 
ward in the castle of Blackness, and to deliver up the castles of 
Carlaverock and Thrieve, and his other strongholds within twenty- 
four hours, under the penalty of treason. It was also ordered that 

The Maxwells. 


the Earl's friends on the West Borders should appear personally 
before the Laird of Johnstone, who was now again Warden of the 
West Marches, upon a certain day, to give security for their due 
obedience to the King, under the pain of rebellion. To crown all, a 
commission was given to the Warden to pursue and seize Morton ; 
and two companies of hired soldiers were dispatched by Arran to 
assist Johnstone in executing these decrees. 

Morton, thus forced to the wall, adopted prompt and vigorous 
measures for his defence. The defeat of the mercenaries on^Craw- 
ford Moor by Robert Maxwell— a natural brother of the Earl— the 
destruction of the house of Lochwood, and the capture of Johnstone 
himself, when he was lying in ambush to attack Robert Maxwell, 
speedily followed. On the other hand, the King, with advice of his 
Council, revoked and annulled the grant which he had made to Lord 
Maxwell of the lands and earldom of Morton. So formidable did 
the Earl appear to the Government, that ,£20,000 was granted by the 
Convention of the Estates to levy soldiers for the suppression of his 
rebellion, and all the men on the south of the Forth capable of 
bearing arms were commanded to be in readiness to attend the King 
in an expedition against the powerful and refractory baron, of whom 
it was justly said that ' few noblemen in Scotland could surpass him 
in military power and experience.' But the projected raid into 
Dumfries-shire was deferred for some months, and ultimately aban- 
doned. Even Arran himself was so much impressed by the indomit- 
able energy and power of resistance which Morton had displayed, 
that he made an unsuccessful attempt to be reconciled to him. The 
downfall of the profligate and unprincipled favourite was, however, 
at hand. The banished lords entered Scotland in October, 1585,' 
at the head of a small body of troops, and were joined by Bothwellj 
Home, Yester, Cessford, Drumlanrig, and other powerful barons. 
Maxwell brought to their aid 1,300 foot and 700 horse, while the 
forces of all the other lords scarcely equalled that number. The 
insurgents marched to Stirling, where the King and his worthless 
favourite lay, and without difficulty obtained possession both of the 
town and the castle. Hume of Godscroft mentions, with great 
indignation, the conduct of the Annandale Borderers under Maxwell. 
True to their predatory character, they carried off the gentlemen's 
horses, which had been committed to the care of their valets, 
respecting neither friend nor foe ; and what was worse, they robbed 
the sick in the pest-lodges that were in the fields about Stirling, and 


The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

carried away the clothes of the infected. Arran fled for his life, 
accompanied only by a single attendant; the banished lords, along 
with Morton, were pardoned and received into favour, their estates 
were restored, and an indemnity was shortly after granted to them 
by Parliament for all their unlawful doings within the kingdom. 

.Emboldened by his victory over Arran, Morton, who was a zealous 
Roman Catholic, assembled a number of his retainers and supporters 
of the old Church at Dumfries, and marched in procession at their 
head to the Collegiate Church of Lincluden, in which he caused mass 
to be openly celebrated. As stringent laws had been enacted by the 
Estates against the celebration of mass, this conduct excited general 
indignation. Morton was summoned to appear before the Privy 
Council, and was imprisoned by order of the King in the castle of 
Edinburgh. Shortly after, the forfeiture of Regent Morton was 
rescinded, and it was declared that Archibald, Earl of Angus, as 
his nearest heir of line, should succeed to the lands and dignities of 
the earldom. Lord Maxwell, however, was not deprived of the title 
of Earl of Morton, which was subsequently given to him in royal 
charters and commissions, and which he continued to use till his 

Maxwell's imprisonment was first of all relaxed on his giving 
security that he would not go beyond the city of Edinburgh and a 
certain prescribed limit in its vicinity, and he was set at liberty in 
the summer of 1586. In common with the other Popish lords, 
he made no secret of his sympathy with the projected invasion 
of England by Philip II. of Spain. In April, 1587, he received 
licence from the King to visit the Continent, on his giving a bond 
with cautioners that ' whilst he remained in foreign parts he should 
neither privately, directly nor indirectly, practise anything prejudi- 
cial to the true religion presently professed within this realm,' and 
that he should not return to Scotland without his Majesty's special 
licence.' It is scarcely necessary to say that the Earl deliberately 
violated his pledge, and during his residence in Spain he was in 
active communication with the Spanish Court, and not only 
witnessed the preparations that were making for the invasion of 
England, but promised his assistance in the enterprise. Contrary to 
the assurance which he had given, he returned to Scotland without 
the King's permission, and landed at Kirkcudbright, in April, 1588. 
A proclamation was therefore issued forbidding all his Majesty's 
subjects to hold intercourse with him. It soon appeared that this 

The Maxwells. 13 

step was fully warranted by Morton's treasonable intentions and 
intrigues. He and the other Popish lords had earnestly recom- 
mended the Spanish king to invade England through Scotland, and 
that, for this purpose, a Spanish army should be landed on the west 
coast, promising that as soon as this was done they would join the 
invaders with a numerous body of their retainers. Morton at once 
set about organising an armed force in Dumfries, there to be in readi- 
ness for this expected result. Lord Herries, who had been appointed 
Warden in the room of his relative, finding himself unable to sup- 
press this rising, which was every day gathering fresh strength, 
warned the King of the danger which threatened the peace and 
security of the country, and Morton was immediately summoned to 
appear before the Council. He not only disregarded the summons, 
but, in defiance of the royal authority, set about fortifying the 
Border fortresses of which he held possession. James, indignant at 
this contumacy, and now fully alive to the danger which threatened 
the kingdom, promptly collected a body of troops and marched 
to Dumfries, where Morton, unprepared for this sudden move- 
ment, narrowly escaped being made prisoner. He rode with the 
utmost expedition to Kirkcudbright, and there procured a ship, in 
which he put to sea. 

Next day the King summoned the castles of Lochmaben, Lang- 
holm, Thrieve, and Carlaverock, to surrender. They all obeyed 
except Lochmaben, which was commanded by David Maxwell, 
brother to the Laird of Cowhill, who imagined that he would be 
able to hold the castle against the royal forces in consequence of 
their want of artillery. The King himself accompanied his troops 
to Lochmaben, and having ' borrowed a sieging train from the 
English Warden at Carlisle,' battered the fortress so effectually that 
the garrison were constrained to capitulate. They surrendered to 
Sir William Stewart, brother of Arran, on the written assurance that 
their lives should be spared. This pledge, however, was shamefully 
violated by the King, who ordered the captain and four of the chief 
men of the garrison to be hanged before the castle gate, on the 
ground that they had refused to surrender when first summoned. 

It was of great importance that the person of the leader of the 
rebellion should be secured, and Sir William Stewart was promptly 
despatched in pursuit of Morton. Finding himself closely followed, 
the Earl quitted his ship, and taking to the boat, made for land. 
Stewart having discovered, on seizing the ship, that Maxwell had 

M The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

left it followed him to land, and succeeded in apprehending him. 
He was at first conveyed to Dumfries, but was afterwards removed 
to the castle of Edinburgh. He contrived, even when in confine- 
ment to take part in a new intrigue for a renewed attempt at inva- 
sion after the destruction of the Armada, and along with the Earl of 
Huntly and Lord Claude Hamilton he signed a letter to Philip, King 
of Spain, giving him counsel as to the mode in which another effort 
might be successfully made. _ 

Maxwell was released from prison, along with the other Popish 
nobles, on the 12th of September, 1589, to attend James's queen on 
her arrival from Denmark. On his liberation he became bound 
under a penalty of a hundred thousand pounds Scots to conduct 
himself as a loyal subject, and neither directly nor indirectly to do 
anything tending to the ' trouble and alteration of the state of reli- 
gion presently professed, and by law established within the realm.' 
It appears that Lord Maxwell, about the beginning of the year 1592, 
had professed to have become a convert to the Protestant religion, 
and on January 26th he subscribed the Confession of Faith before 
the Presbytery of Edinburgh. The sincerity of this profession 
may be doubted, and it soon became evident that it had exercised 
no improvement in his turbulent character, for, on the 2nd of 
February following, he had a violent struggle for precedency in 
the Kirk of Edinburgh with Archibald, Earl of Angus, the new 
Earl of Morton. They were separated by the Provost before they 
had time to draw their swords, and were conveyed under a guard 
to their lodgings. 

Repeated efforts had been made to heal the long-continued and 
deadly feud between the Maxwells and the Johnstones, and early in 
the year 1592 it seemed as if a permanent reconciliation had been at 
length effected. On the 1st of April of that year the rival chiefs 
entered into a full and minute agreement by which they ' freely re- 
mitted and forgave all rancour of mind, grudge, malice, and feuds 
that had passed, or fallen forth, betwixt them or any of their forbears 
in any time bygone,' and became bound that ' they themselves, their 
kin, friends, &c, should in all time coming live together in sure 
peace and amity.' Any controversy or questions that might here- 
after arise between them were to be referred to eight arbitrators, four 
chosen by each party, with the King as oversman or umpire. But in 
the following year the two families came again into collision, and 
the feud was revived more fiercely than ever. 

The Maxwells. 15 

William Johnstone, of Wamphray, called the Galliard,* a noted 
freebooter, made a foray on the lands of the Crichtons of Sanquhar, 
the Douglases of Drumlanrig and some other Nithsdale barons. 
The Galliard was taken prisoner in the fray and hanged by the 
Crichtons. The Johnstones, under the leadership of the Galliard's 
nephew, and in greater force, made a second inroad into Nithsdale, 
killing a good many of the tenantry, and carrying off a great number 
of their cattle. The freebooters were pursued by the Crichtons, who 
overtook them at a pass called Well Path Head, by which they were 
retreating to their fastnesses in Annandale. The Johnstones stood 
at bay and fought with such desperate courage that their pursuers 
were defeated and most of them killed. f The Biddesburn, where 
the encounter took place, is said to have run three days with blood. 

A remarkable scene which followed this sanguinary fray is thus 
described by a contemporary writer. ' There came certain poor 
women out of the south country, with fifteen bloody shirts, to com- 
pleane to the King that their husbands, sons, and servants were 
cruelly murdered by the Laird of Johnstone, themselves spoiled, and 
nothing left them. The poor women, seeing they could get no 
satisfaction, caused the bloody shirts to be carried by pioneers 
through the town of Edinburgh, upon Monday, the 23rd of July. The 
people were much moved, and cried out for vengeance upon the 
King and Council. The King was nothing moved, but against the 
town of Edinburgh and the ministers.' The Court alleged they had 
procured that spectacle in contempt of the King. The feeling thus 
excited, however, was so strong that the Government was in the 
end constrained to take proceedings against the depredators. The 
injured and despoiled Nithsdale barons complained of this san- 
guinary foray of the Johnstones to Lord Maxwell, who had been 
reinstated in his office of Warden of the Western Marches. But his 
recent pacification and alliance with Sir James Johnstone, of 
Dunskellie, the chief of the clan, made him unwilling to move in the 
aftair. The King, however, issued orders to the Warden to appre- 
hend Johnstone and to execute justice on the ' lads of Wamphray' 
for the depredations and slaughters which they had committed. At 
the same time Douglas of Drumlanrig and Kirkpatrick of Closeburn 
entered into a bond, in conjunction with the Warden's brother, 

* The name seems to have been derived from a dance called the galliard. The 
word is still employed in Scotland for an active, gay, dissipated character. 

t This skirmish forms the subject of the old Border ballad, entitled Hie Lads a' 
Wamphray . 

!6 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

binding themselves to stand firmly by Lord Maxwell in executing 
the royal commands, and to defend each other, and to support him 
in his quarrels with his hereditary foes. 

This secret alliance was speedily made known to the chief of the 
Johnstones, and he immediately applied for help in this hour of need 
to the friends on whom he could rely. The Scotts of Buccleuch, 
thouo-h their chief, a near relation of Johnstone, was then on the 
Continent, mustered five hundred strong, ' the most renowned free- 
booters,' says an old historian, 'and the bravest warriors among the 
Border tribes.' With them came the Elliots, Armstrongs, and 
Grahams, valiant and hardy, actuated both by love of plunder, and 
by hostility to the Maxwells. On the other hand the Warden, armed 
with the royal authority, assembled his new allies, the barons of 
Nithsdale, and displaying his banner as the King's lieutenant, 
invaded Annandale at the head of fifteen hundred men, with the 
purpose of crushing the ancient rival and enemy of his house. It is 
said that some days previously, Maxwell caused it to be proclaimed 
among his followers that he would give ' a ten-pound land' — that is, 
land rated in the cess-books at that yearly amount — to any man 
who would bring him the head or hand of the Laird of Johnstone. 
When this was repeated to Johnstone, he said he had no ten-pound 
lands to offer, but he would bestow 'a five-merk land' upon the 
man who should bring him the head or the hand of Lord Maxwell. 

On the 6th of December, 1593, the Warden crossed the river 
Annan and advanced to attack the Johnstones, who had skilfully 
taken up their position on an elevated piece of ground at the Dryfe 
Sands, near Lockerbie, where Lord Maxwell could not bring his 
whole force into action against them at the same time. A detach- 
ment sent out by the Warden was suddenly surrounded by a stronger 
body of the enemy and driven back on the main force, which it 
threw into confusion. A desperate conflict then ensued, in which the 
Johnstones and their allies, though inferior in numbers, gained 
a complete victory. The Maxwells suffered considerable loss in the 
battle and the retreat, and many of them were slashed in the face by 
the pursuers in the streets of Lockerbie — a kind of blow which to this 
day is called in the district * A Lockerbie lick.' Lord Maxwell him- 
self, who, says Spottiswood, was ' a tall man and heavy in armour, 
was in the chase overtaken and stricken from his horse,' and slain 
under two large thorn -trees which were long called ' Maxwell's 
Thorns,' but were swept away about fifty years ago by an inundation 

The Maxwells. 17 

of the Dryfe. According to tradition, it was William Johnstone of 
the Kirkhill, the nephew of the Galliard, who overtook Lord Max- 
well in his flight, and obtained the reward offered by Sir James 
Johnstone, by striking down the chief of the Maxwells and cutting 
off his right hand. The lairds of Drumlanrig, Closeburn, and Lag 
escaped by the fleetness of their horses. ' Never ane of his awn 
folks,' says an ancient chronicler, ' remained with him [Maxwell] (only 
twenty of his awn household), but all fled through the water ; five of 
the said lord's company slain ; and his head and right hand were ta'en 
with them to the Lochwood and affixed on the wall thereof. The 
bruit ran that the said Lord Maxwell was treacherously deserted by 
his awn company.' * 

The flight of the Nithsdale barons is thus noticed in the beautiful 
ballad of ' Lord Maxwell's Good-Night.' 

' Adieu ! Drumlanrig, false wert aye, 

And Closeburn in a band, 
The Laird of Lag, frae my father that fled 

When the Johnstones struck aff his hand, 
They were three brethren in a band ; 

Joy may they never see ! 
Their treacherous art and cowardly heart, 

Has twined my love and me.' 

John, ninth Lord Maxwell, the eldest son of the nobleman who 
fell at Dryfe Sands, was only eight years of age at the time of his 
accession to his father's title and estates, in the year 1593. He, un- 
fortunately, was heir not only to his paternal property and honours, 
but also to the long-breathed feud between the Maxwells and the 

King James expressed great indignation at the defeat and death 
of his Lieutenant of the Western Marches, and Sir James Johnstone 
and his accomplices were immediately put to the horn, and declared 
to be rebels. This act was followed up by a commission appointed 
by the King, 22nd December, 1593, for establishing good order 
upon the Western Marches. Johnstone and his accomplices are 
charged with ' murdering the trew men indwellars in the Sanquhar, 

* Johnstone's Histories, p. 182. Sir Walter Scott mentions a tradition of the 
district, that the wife of the Laird of Lockerbie sallied out from her tower, which she 
carefully locked, to see how the battle had gone, and saw Lord Maxwell lying beneath 
a thorn-tree, bareheaded and bleeding to death from the loss of his right hand, and 
that she dashed out his brains with the ponderous key which she carried. But the 
story is in itself exceedingly improbable, and is at variance with the contemporary 


1 8 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

in the defens and saulftie of their awne guidis ; ' burning the parish 
kirk of Lochmaben, and the slaughter of some of his Majesty's 
subjects sent thither by John, Lord Maxwell, the King's Warden 
and Justice ; for having appeared in arms against the Warden, ' urn- 
besett, invadit, persewit, and maist cruellie and outrageouslie slew 
him and sundrie gentilmen of his name, and others his Majestie's 
obedient subjects ; drownit, hurte, lamyt, dememberit, and tuke a 
grit nowmer of prisonaris ; reft and spuilzeit thair horses, armour, 
pursis, money, and uther guidis.' * The King's anger, however, was 
not of Ion? duration, for in the course of a few weeks a warrant was 
obtained by Sir James Johnstone under the King's sign manual 
ordaining a respite to be made under the Privy Seal in favour of Sir 
James, 'for the treasonable slauchter of Lord Maxwell.' The 
respite, which passed the Privy Seal 24th December, 1594, men- 
tioned no fewer than a hundred and sixty of the Johnstones, and in- 
cluded not only the slaughter of the Warden and of those who fell 
with him, but also the raising and burning of the kirk of Lochmaben, 
and the slaughter of Captain Oliphant and others, which took 
place before the battle of Dryfe Sands.f 

The Laird of Johnstone does not appear to have been grateful for 
the respite thus granted him. He lost no opportunity of annoying 
and spoiling his hereditary foes, attacking them whenever it was in 
his power to do so with effect. Retaliating forays on each side were 
of frequent occurrence, and the attempts of the Government to allay 
these feuds, so destructive of the peace of the kingdom, were entirely 
without effect The appointment of Sir James Johnstone in April, 
1596, to the office of Warden of the Western Marches in the room 
of Lord Herries, served, as might have been expected, to increase 
the disturbances in the district ; and it speedily became necessary to 
replace the chief of the Johnstone clan by Lord Stewart of Ochiltree. 
So great was the annoyance which Johnstone's outrageous and 
illegal conduct caused to the Government that on the 27th of May, 
1598, he was declared rebel, and his portrait hung at the Cross 
of Edinburgh with his head downwards. J He was in consequence 
intercommuned and committed to prison in July, 1599, where he 
seems to have been kept for a year. But his imprisonment does not 
appear to have taught him either prudence or forbearance. 

The young Lord Maxwell, on his part, was neither wiser nor more 

* Book of Carlaverock, i. pp. 293-4 1" Ibid., pp. 295-6. 

\ Pitcairn's Criminal Trials, iii. p. 29. 

The Maxwells. 19 

forbearing- than his rival. Like his father, he was a steadfast adherent 
of the Roman Catholic religion, and was declared rebel and put 
to the horn, in consequence of his presence at the mass celebrated at 
Dumfries by seminary priests. He was imprisoned in the castle of 
Edinburgh, in March, 1601, for 'favouring Popery,' but made his 
escape in January, 1602, and was proclaimed a traitor. His enmity 
to the Johnstones.was irremovable, and in February of that year he 
made a sanguinary attack on his hereditary foes, two of whom were 
put to death by his vassals with great cruelty. In 1605, a professed 
reconciliation took place between these two potent rivals, but it was 
not of long continuance. 

Lord Maxwell, with the combative disposition of his family, was now 
involved in a dispute with William Douglas of Lochleven, who, on the 
death of the Earl of Angus, was reinstated in the earldom and title of 
Morton. He challenged Douglas to single combat, and was in con- 
sequence of this, and numerous other turbulent acts, imprisoned in 
the castle of Edinburgh, nth August, 1607. After eight weeks' con- 
finement, he made his escape in a manner which strikingly displayed 
both his daring and his energy. He had for his fellow-prisoner a 
great chieftain of the Isles, Sir James M'Connell, or Macdonald. 
' Seeing not how he was to be relieved, he devises with Sir James 
M'Connell and Robert Maxwell of Dinwoodie, what way he and 
they might escape. Sir James, hesitating, urged the need of deli- 
beration. "Tush, man!" replied Maxwell, "sic enterpryses are 
nocht effectuate with deliberations and advisments, but with suddane 
resolutionis." ' He then called in two soldiers who had charge of 
the prisoners, and giving them a liberal supply of wine, ' drinks 
them fou.' Suddenly turning upon the soldiers, Maxwell compelled 
them to give up their swords, and giving one to Sir James M'Connell, 
another to Robert Maxwell, and keeping a third for himself, he 
called out, ' All gude fellows that luiffes me, follow me, for I sail 
either be furth of the Castle this nycht, or elles I sail loose my lyiff.' 
He then passed out of the room with his companions, locking the 
door behind him. One of the soldiers gave the alarm by crying 
out at the south window, towards the West Port, ' Treason ! 
treason ! ' The three passed to the inner gate, where the master 
porter, an old man, tried to make resistance. ' False knave,' 
exclaimed Lord Maxwell, • open the gate, or I shall hew thee in 
blads ' [pieces]. He did strike the man on the arm with his sword, 
but the keys were then given up, and the gate was opened. They 


The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

had next an encounter at the second gate with the under porter 
I ord Maxwell and Sir James M'Connell wounded him and forced 
their way through, but Robert Maxwell was kept back by the porter. 
He however, made his escape by leaping over ' the west castle 
wall that goes to the West Port.' Lord Maxwell and Sir James passed 
to the same wall, and climbing over it leaped down and disappeared 
amono-st the suburbs. Lord Maxwell made his escape upon a horse 
which had been kept in readiness for him ; but Sir James M'Connell, 
who had irons upon him, twisted his ankle in leaping. He was dis- 
covered lying upon a dunghill to which he had crept and was brought 
back to the Castle. ' The King was very far offended and made 
proclamation that nane should visit him under the pain of death.'* 
He issued orders also that special search should be made for the 
fugitive, and to omit nothing that ' might hasten the infliction of 
exemplary punishment upon him.' His Majesty complained in a 
letter to the Privy Council that Maxwell openly travelled through 
the country accompanied by not fewer than twenty horse in open 
defiance of the royal authority, and renewed his injunctions that 
diligent search should be made for him in order that he might 
either be apprehended, or put out of the bounds. The Privy Council 
in reply stated that they had used all diligence in searching for 
Lord Maxwell and punishing his resetters ; and informed the King 
that one of his hiding-places was a certain cave in Clawbelly Hill, in 
the parish of Kirkgunzeon, which still bears the name of ' Lord 

Maxwell's Cave.' 

Lord Maxwell evidently felt that the life which he was leading 

was dangerous as well as uncomfortable, and with a view to gain the 

favour of the King, he seems to have been really desirous at this 

juncture to become reconciled to the Laird of Johnstone, who on 

his part had expressed a similar wish to Sir Robert Maxwell of 

Orchardtoun, Lord Maxwell's cousin, and his own brother-in-law. 

Sir Robert undertook the office of mediator between the two chiefs 

with some reluctance, for, as he remarked, ' it was dangerous to 

meddle with such a man.' On paying a visit to Lord Maxwell at his 

request in March, 1608, he found that his lordship was not unwilling 

to be reconciled to his hereditary enemy. ' Cosine,' he said to Sir 

Robert, ' it was for this caus I send for zou. Ye see my estait and 

dangour I stand in; and I wald crave zour Counsell and avise as 

ane man that tenders my weill.' Sir Robert judiciously recom- 

* Pitcairn's Crimitial Trials, iii. p. 47. Caldenvood's History, vi. p. 686. 

The Maxwells. 21 

mended the turbulent noble to keep himself quiet, and to avoid 
giving any additional offence to the King. He also expressed his 
willingness to mediate between him and Johnstone, if he was willing 
that their differences should be amicably settled. Lord Maxwell 
declared that he was willing to overlook the past, should Johnstone 
show any corresponding inclination, and would be ready to meet 
him with a view to their reconciliation. 

A meeting was accordingly arranged, Sir Robert having pre- 
viously exacted from Lord Maxwell a promise and solemn oath, that 
neither he nor the person who should accompany him would use 
any violence, whether they came to an accommodation or not. A 
similar obligation was given by Sir James Johnstone. They met on 
the 6th of April, 1608. Lord Maxwell was accompanied by Charles 
Maxwell, brother of William Maxwell of Kirkhouse, who seems to 
have borne the reputation of a passionate and quarrelsome person. 
Sir James Johnstone brought with him William Johnstone of 
Lockerbie. Sir Robert Maxwell was also present as mediator, and 
seems to have had his misgivings as to the result of the meeting, 
when he saw that Charles Maxwell was Lord Maxwell's attendant, 
for he required that his Lordship should renew his oath and promise 
of strict fidelity for himself and his man, which was readily done, 
and a similar pledge was exacted from Johnstone. The rival chiefs 
met on horseback, and after mutual salutations, they rode on to confer 
together, Sir Robert being between them. While they were thus 
engaged, Charles Maxwell quitted the place where he had been 
ordered to remain, and going towards Johnstone's attendant, com- 
menced an altercation with him. The other attempted to soothe 
him with calm and peaceful words, but without effect, and after some 
bitter and angry expressions, Maxwell fired a pistol at William 
Johnstone, which, however, only pierced his cloak. Johnstone 
attempted to retaliate, but his pistol missed fire, and he cried out, 
1 Treason ! ' Sir James, on hearing this noise, turned away from 
Lord Maxwell and Sir Robert, and rode towards the attendants. 
Sir Robert caught hold of his lordship's cloak and exclaimed, ' Fy ! 
my lord : make not yourself a traitor and me baith.' But Maxwell, 
bursting from his grasp, fired a pistol at the Laird of Johnstone, and 
mortally v/ounded him in the back. Johnstone's palfrey becoming 
restive, the girths broke and the laird fell to the ground. While 
his attendant w r as standing beside him, Charles Maxwell again fired 
at them. Looking up to heaven Sir James exclaimed, ' Lord, have 


The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

mercy on me ! Christ, have mercy on me ! I am deceived, and 
Toon a"r expired. The murderer and his attendant then coolly 
rode away.* That foul deed was < detested by all men,' says Spottis- 
wood, 'and the gentleman's misfortune sincerely lamented ; for he 
was a man full of wisdom and courage, and every way well inclined. 
Proclamation was made by sound of trumpet at the Cross of Edin- 
burgh that none, unless under pain of death, should transport or 
carr & y away the Lord Maxwell out of the country, in ship or craer, 
seeing the King and Council were to take order with him for the 
traitorous murdering of the Laird of Johnstone and his other 
offences 't He was tried in absence before the Estates on the 24th 
of Tune, 1609, for treason, and was found guilty. He was con- 
demned to suffer the pains of law for his crime, and his estates were 
forfeited and bestowed upon Sir Gideon Murray, LordCranstoun, and 
other favourites of the Court. 

Lord Maxwell succeeded in eluding his pursuers and made his 
escape to France, where he remained for several years. His flight, after 
his perpetration of the murder of Sir James Johnstone, is commemo- 
rated in the pathetic ballad entitled < Lord Maxwell's Good Night, 
in which he is represented as bidding farewell to his mother, sisters, 
and wife, and to his hereditary fortresses and estates. The unknown 
author is, however, mistaken in supposing that the fugitive lord felt 
re-ret at parting from his wife, against whom, it is not clear on what 
grounds, he had raised a process of divorce, during the dependence 
of which she died. This lady was the only sister of James, second 
Marquis of Hamilton, who was deeply offended at his brother-in-law s 
procedure, and became in consequence his bitter enemy. 

The ballad must have been written before Lord Maxwell's execu- 
tion in 1613, as it makes no mention of that event. It was first 
published in Sir Walter Scott's ' Border Minstrelsy,' from a copy 
in Glenriddel's MSS. Lord Byron refers to this ballad as having 
suggested the ' Good Night' in the first canto of ' Childe Harold.' 

It is as follows : — 

' Adieu ! madame, my mother dear, 
But and my sisters three ; 
Adieu ! fair Robert of Orchardstone, 

My heart is wae for thee. 
Adieu ! the lilye and the rose, 

The primrose fair to see ; 
Adieu 1 my ladye, and only joy, 
For I may not stay with thee. 

* Book of Carlaverock, i. pp. .310-13. I Calderwood's History, vi. p. 704. 

The Maxwells. 23 

' Though I hae slain Lord Johnstone, 

What care I for their feid ? 
My noble mind their wrath disdains, 

He was my father's deid. 
Both night and day I labour'd oft 

Of him avenged to be ; 
But now I've got what lang I sought, 

And I may not stay with thee. 

* * * * 

'Adieu ! Dumfries, my proper place, 

But and Carlaverock fair ; 
Adieu ! my castle of the Thrieve, 

Wi' a' my buildings there \ 
Adieu ! Lochmaben's gates sae fair, 

The Langholm-holm where birks there be; 
Adieu ! my ladye, and only joy, 

For, trust me, I must not stay wi' thee. 

' Adieu ! fair Eskdale up and down, 

Where my puir friends do dwell ; 
The bangisters will ding them down, 

And will them sair compell. 
But I'll avenge their feid mysel', 

When I come o'er the sea ; 
Adieu ! my ladye, and only joy, 

For I may not stay wi' thee.' 

1 Lord of the land,' that lady said, 
' O wad ye go wi' me 
Unto my brother's stately tower, 

Where safest ye may be ? 
There Hamiltons and Douglas baith 
Shall rise to succour thee.' 
'Thanks for thy kindness, fair my dame, 
But I may not stay wi' thee.' 

Then he took aff a gay gold ring, 

Thereat hang signets three : 
' Hae, tak' thee that, mine ain dear thing, 

And still hae mind o' me ; 
But, if thou take another lord, 

Ere I come ower the sea, — 
His life is but a three days' lease, 

Tho' I may not stay wi' thee.' 

The wind was fair, the ship was clear, 

That good lord went away ; 
And most part of his friends were there 

To give him a fair convey. 
They drank the wine, they didna spar't, 

Even in that gude lord's sight. 
Sae now he's o'er the floods sae gray, 

And Lord Maxwell has ta'en his Good night. 

Lord Maxwell, weary of exile, and probably hoping that the lapse 

24 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

of time had mollified the resentment of the Johnstones, ventured to 
return to Scotland in 1612; but he soon discovered that his enemies 
were as eager as ever for vengeance, and made such keen pursuit 
after him on the Borders, that he resolved to take refuge in Sweden. 
His relative, George Sinclair, fifth Earl of Caithness, however, per- 
suaded him to delay taking this step, and offered to give him, in 
the meantime, shelter on his estates in the north. Maxwell accepted 
this offer, and proceeded to Caithness, in reliance on his kinsman's 
promise and honour; but the Earl, in order to obtain the favour 
of the Government, basely betrayed him, and caused him to be 
arrested and carried a prisoner to Castle Sinclair. He was brought 
to Edinburgh 19th September, 1612, by orders of the Privy Council, 
and warded in the Tolbooth there. 

Sir James Johnstone, the son of the murdered chief, and his 
mother, and even his grandmother, who was labouring under some 
sickness, lost no time in petitioning the King that justice should be 
executed on Lord Maxwell, and travelled to Edinburgh for the 
express purpose of pressing their demand. An earnest effort was 
made by Maxwell's friends to effect a reconciliation between him 
and the relatives of the deceased Laird of Johnstone. He first of 
all humbly confessed and craved mercy for his offence against God, 
the King, and the surviving relatives of Sir James Johnstone ; and 
testified, by his solemn oath, that the unhappy slaughter was not 
committed by him upon forethought, or set purpose, but upon mere 
accident. Secondly, he was willing, not only for himself, but for 
his whole kin and friends, to forgive the slaughter of his father by 
the Laird of Johnstone and his accomplices. Thirdly, in order to 
establish friendship between the houses of Maxwell and Johnstone, 
he was willing to marry the daughter of the deceased Sir James 
without any tocher. Fourthly, he proposed that the young Laird of 
Johnstone should marry his sister's daughter, and offered to give 
with her a dowry of 20,000 merks Scots, and whatever additional 
sum should be thought expedient by the advice of friends. Lastly, 
he was content to be banished the kingdom for seven years, or 
longer, at the wish and pleasure of the Laird of Johnstone. These 
offers were to be augmented at the discretion of common friends to 
be chosen for that purpose.* 

It is not known whether these proposals were submitted by the 
Privy Council to the relations of the deceased Laird of Johnstone ; 

* Book of Carlaverock, i. pp, 321-2. 

The Max-wells. 25 

the Government, however, were determined — no doubt with the 
full approval of the King — to carry into effect the sentence which 
had been pronounced upon Lord Maxwell in his absence. But, as 
Sir Walter Scott remarks, ' in the best actions of that monarch, there 
seems to have been an unfortunate tincture of that meanness so 
visible on the present occasion. Lord Maxwell was indicted for the 
murder of Johnstone ; but this was combined with a charge of fire- 
raising, which, according to the ancient Scottish law, if perpetrated 
by a landed man, constituted a species of treason, and inferred 
forfeiture. Thus the noble purpose of public justice was sullied by 
being united with that of enriching some needy favourite.' 

Lord Maxwell was beheaded at the Cross of Edinburgh on the 
2 1 st of May, 16 13. 'He refused to receive any religious instruc- 
tion, or consolation from the ministers, declaring that he was a 
Catholic man, and not of their religion.' He acknowledged, on the 
scaffold, the justice of his sentence, asking mercy from God and 
forgiveness from the son, widow, mother, and friends of the deceased 
Laird of Johnstone. 

1 The execution of Lord Maxwell,' says Sir Walter Scott, ' put a 
final end to the foul debate between the Maxwells and the John- 
stones, in the course of which each family lost two chieftains ; one 
dying of a broken heart, one in the field of battle, one by assassina- 
tion, and one by the sword of the executioner.' 

On the death of John, ninth Lord Maxwell, on the scaffold, the 
representation of the house of Maxwell devolved on his younger 
brother Robert ; but the titles and extensive estates of the family 
were forfeited to the Crown in 1609, and considerable portions of 
the land had been granted to influential persons, who were not 
willing to give them up. A number of years, therefore, elapsed 
before Robert, tenth Lord Maxwell, was fully reinstated in the 
possession of the lands and dignities of his ancestors. King James, 
commiserating his pecuniary difficulties, ordered ^2,000 sterling to 
be given him out of the Royal Exchequer of Scotland in October, 

16 16, and he obtained large loans from Sir William Graham of 
Braco and other friends, to assist him in his efforts to recover the 
Maxwell estates, which an Act of Parliament passed 28th June, 

1617, declared him capable of possessing. In December of that 
year, Lord Cranstoun resigned to him the barony of Cranstoun ; and 
finally, the King, by three letters patent, dated 5th October, 161 8, 
13th March, 1619, and 29th August, 1620, restored to him 'the 

2 6 The Great Historic Fa?nilies of Scotland. 

lands, rents, living, teinds, offices, and dignities ' that belonged to 
his predecessors. This last- mentioned patent set forth that, 'calling 
to remembrance the constant hatred between the families of Morton 
and Maxwell, and also its being unusual for two earls to wear the 
same title, his Majesty, by his sole authority, changed the title of 
Earl of Morton, which he had conferred on the deceased Lord 
Maxwell, into that of Earl of Nithsdale, which he now conferred 
on Lord Maxwell, his son, whose designation would be Lord 
Maxwell, Lord Eskdale, and Earl of Nithsdale.' But it was ex- 
pressly declared that this change was without prejudice to the 
antiquity of the former titles. 

The title of Nithsdale, as Mr. Fraser remarks, was more appro- 
priate as a family title of honour than that of Morton, for which it 
was exchanged. Morton had not been previously in the family as a 
territorial possession, and they acquired only a quasi right through 
the marriage of a co-heiress. On the other hand, the rich and 
beautiful vale of the Nith, in Dumfriesshire, through which the river 
Nith flows, was historically associated with the Maxwells. From a 
very early period they owned the castle of Carlaverock, which was 
the key to the whole of that district. The family also, through its 
heads and branches, had long possessed large territories on both 
banks of the Nith, from its mouth where it falls into the Solway 
Firth, to nearly the source of that river in the parish of Dalmel- 
lington, in Ayrshire.* 

Unlike his brother and his predecessors, the Earl of Nithsdale was 
a man of peace, and he strove to staunch the feuds which had so 
long existed between the Maxwells and the Murrays of Cockpool, and 
the Johnstones. On the 17th of June, 1623, the Earl and James 
Johnstone of Westraw appeared before the Privy Council, and in 
testimony of their reconciliation ' choppit hands.' In his pecuniary 
difficulties, as well as in his disputes with the other nobles respecting 
precedence and privileges, the Earl of Nithsdale was powerfully 
aided by the Lord Chancellor, the celebrated ' Tarn o' the Cowgate,' 
who held him in personal esteem, and with his characteristic shrewd- 
ness had an eye to the favour of the powerful Duke of Buckingham, 
whose niece Lord Nithsdale had married. As both the Earl and his 
cautioners were hard pressed by his creditors, the King was induced 
to interfere for his protection, and to arrest the proceedings against 
him ; an act of gracious interference which had to be repeated more 

* Book of Carlaverock, i. pp. 329-30. 

The Maxwells. 27 

than once. As might have been expected, Lord Nithsdale was a 
strenuous supporter of Charles I. in his arbitrary policy, and in 
162^ he was sent down as Royal Commissioner to hold a convention 
of the Estates, for the purpose of obtaining the surrender of ail the 
tithes and other ecclesiastical property which had been forfeited to 
the Crown at the time of the Reformation, and had been granted by 
James to the nobility and royal favourites. But this demand the 
nobles, most of whom had shared in the plunder of the Church, were 
determined to resist to the last extremity. Bishop Burnet states 
that a number of them conspired, and resolved that if the Com- 
missioner persisted in requiring an unconditional surrender of the 
teinds, ' they would fall upon him and all his party in the old 
Scottish manner, and knock him on the head.' Lord Belhaven, one 
of the conspirators, though old and blind, resolved to make sure of at 
least one victim, and being seated beside the Earl of Dumfries, seized 
upon the Earl of Nithsdale with one hand, and was prepared, should 
any disturbance arise, to plunge a dagger into his heart. Perceiving 
this determined opposition, Nithsdale disguised his instructions, 
and returned to London without accomplishing the object of his 

The encouragement and support which the Earl afforded to the 
Roman Catholics in Dumfries and its vicinity gave great offence to 
the Presbyterians, and the ministers of that town complained to the 
Privy Council in strong terms of ' the insolent behaviour of the 
Papists ' in those parts, imputing the blame to the Earl of Nithsdale 
and Lord Herries. 'It is a pity,' wrote Archbishop Spottiswood 
to the Earl, that ' your Lordship will not be movit to leave that 
unhappie course which shall undoe your Lordship, and make us all 
sorry that love you ; and how much prejudice the meanwhile this 
will bring to his Majestie's service, I cannot express.' The Arch- 
bishop exhorts him as he loves his Majesty, the standing of his 
house, ay, and the safety of his soul, to take another course, and 
resolve at least to be a hearer of the Word, ' for your Lordship not 
resorting to the Church, when you were last at Edinburgh, hath given 
your adversaries greater advantage than anything else.' 

When the Civil War broke out between Charles I. and the 
Scots, the Earl of Nithsdale zealously supported the royal cause, 
and he garrisoned his castles of Carlaverock and Thrieve, furnishing 
them with a large quantity of arms, ammunition, and provisions, 

* Burnet's History of his own Times, i. p. 24. 

28 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

in order that they might sustain a protracted siege. Carlaverock, 
which had been greatly injured by the English invaders in 1570, was 
restored by him to more than its original strength. The Estates 
hearing of his preparations, sent a strong body of troops under 
Colonel Home to besiege that stronghold. It held out for thirteen 
weeks, though powerful batteries were brought to bear upon it; 
but as no relief could be sent, the Earl, with the approval of the 
King", surrendered on very favourable terms. The inventory of the 
household furniture of the castle, preserved at Terregles, gives an 
interesting account of the splendour and elegance of the establish- 
ment. and throws much light on the domestic condition of the great 
baronial families of Scotland at that period.* Carlaverock was 
shortly after dismantled by order of the Committee of Estates, as 
was the castle of Thrieve, which was also surrendered to the 
Covenanters. The Earl complained bitterly that faith had not been 
kept with him in this matter, and that the losses which he had 
suffered in violation of the terms of the capitulation amounted to 
not less than £ 15,000 sterling. 

The ill-fated nobleman was sequestrated in the year 1643, and his 
whole rents, amounting to ,£3,000 sterling, were seized by the 
dominant party. In the following year he was not only forfeited by 
the Estates, but also excommunicated by the Church. With the 
exception of two brief intervals, the Earl remained in exile from the 
year 1639 till the time of his death. He died and was buried in the 
Isle of Man in 1646. His wife survived him a quarter of a century. 

Robert, second Earl of Nithsdale, the only son of the first Earl, 
was, like his father, a steadfast supporter of the royal cause during 
the Great Civil War. He was taken prisoner on the 1 2th of October, 

1644, when the town of Newcastle was stormed by General Leslie, 
and was imprisoned in the Tolbooth of Edinburgh till after the 
defeat of the Covenanters at Kilsyth by Montrose, on 15th August, 

1645. An Act of Parliament was passed in 1647, restoring him 
against his father's forfeiture, but the estates of the family were so 
heavily burdened in consequence of the losses sustained during the 
Civil War, that he was compelled to sell the barony of Mearns to Sir 
George Maxwell of Pollok, and Langholm to the curators for the 
Duke of Buccleuch and Monmouth. On the restoration of Charles II. 
the Earl was persuaded by the urgent advice of his friends to go up 

* Book of Carlaverock, i. p. 358. 

The Maxwells. 29 

to London, and submit to the King a statement of the injuries which 
had been inflicted on him and his father in consequence of their 
exertions in the royal cause, and to press on his Majesty his claims 
for compensation. The amount spent on maintaining the castle of 
Carlaverock, the destruction of the ' haill moveables and plenishing' 
of that stronghold, the College of Lincluden, and the castles of 
Dumfries and Thrieve, together with the rents uplifted during the 
disturbances, amounted, he alleged, to more than ^40,000 sterling. 
But with the characteristic ingratitude of the Stewarts, the claims of 
the Earl were neglected, and no compensation appears ever to have 
been made to him. Earl Robert was commonly designated ' The 
Philosopher.' Among other pursuits he was said to have been 
addicted to the study of astrology. He died in the Isle of Car- 
laverock, unmarried, 5th October, 1667, and was succeeded by his 
kinsman. John Maxwell, seventh Lord Herries, the eldest of eight 
sons of the sixth Lord Herries by his wife, a daughter of John, 
seventh Lord Maxwell and Earl of Morton. 

John, third Earl of Nithsdale, like his predecessors, suffered heavy 
losses for his adherence to the royal cause during the Great Civil 
War. Detachments of the Parliamentary troops were quartered no 
less than seven times on him and his tenants, and destroyed and plun- 
dered his effects. Large fines also were imposed upon him, and con- 
siderable sums were exacted from him to maintain the forces raised 
by the Committee of Estates. His life and estates were forfeited by 
the Parliament, and he was excommunicated by the Church for sup- 
porting the King. After the Restoration he presented a petition to 
the Parliament in 1661, ' humbly praying that they would appoint 
some of their number to cognosce upon his sufferings for his loyalty 
and obedience to the King, in his person, means, and estate.' The 
committee nominated for this purpose reported that the Earl's losses 
were estimated to amount to the sum of ,£77,322 12s. Scots, 
' besides the insupportable burden of cess and quarterings to which 
he was liable, with the rest of the kingdom, during the late unhappy 
troubles.' But it does not appear that he obtained any compen- 
sation for his sufferings and losses in the royal cause. The Earl, 
however, continued through life a steady supporter of the Govern- 
ment, and was repeatedly required by the Privy Council to take 
an active part in the suppression of conventicles, and the appre- 
hension and punishment of the Covenanting ministers and their 

30 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

adherents. He died in 1677, having enjoyed the title and estates 
of Herries for thirty-five years, and afterwards the earldom of Niths- 
dale and the Maxwell estates for eleven years. He had by his wife, 
a daughter of Sir Robert Gordon of Lochinvar, three sons, the eldest 
of whom — 

Robert Maxwell, became fourth Earl of Nithsdale. Like his 
father, he was a staunch supporter of the arbitrary and oppressive 
Government of Charles II. and his brother James, and a persecutor 
of the Covenanters. He received repeated commissions from the 
Privy Council to apprehend outed ministers, or preachers who kept 
conventicles, or substantial persons who had been present at them, 
and various communications passed between him and the notorious 
persecutor, John Graham of Claverhouse, regarding the measures 
which they adopted in carrying out the instructions of the Government. 
Lord Nithsdale was rewarded for his services with a grant from King 
Charles of ^200 a year, which was subsequently exchanged for a 
grant of as much land out of the forfeited estates of the Covenanters, 
within the county of Wigton and the Stewartry of Kirkcudbright, as 
would yield a free yearly rent of 4,000 merks Scots (£22% 14s. 
sterling) besides the payment of such a portion of his annual rent as 
was then in arrears. The forfeited estates of Alexander Hunter of 
Colquhasben, in the parish of Old Luce, was given to the Countess 
of Nithsdale, and not less than seventeen other forfeited estates of 
Covenanting lairds were gifted to the sons of Lord Nithsdale, and 
retained by them until the Revolution of 1688. The Earl died in 
1683. It appears that notwithstanding the royal pension and the 
gifts of the lands of the Presbyterians, he was through life in embar- 
rassed circumstances. When called on to visit Edinburgh to settle 
his accounts, as Steward of Kirkcudbright, with the Exchequer, he 
had to obtain protection from his creditors, who had taken out 
captions against him. After Earl Robert's death his widow, a 
daughter of the Marquis of Douglas, obtained a pension of^"200 
a year, on the ground of ' the low condition of the family of Nithsdale 
and the great burdens that lay on the estate.' 'She skilfully 
managed not only the household affairs at Terregles, but other 
pecuniary and property transactions, doing all in her power to 
retrieve the fortunes of the family, and to liquidate the debts and 
incumbrances with which the estate was burdened.' The Earl was 
succeeded by his eldest son — 

The Maxwells. 31 

William Maxwell, fifth and last Earl of Nithsdale. His sister 
Mary became the wife of Charles, fourth Earl of Traquair, and 
proved a most generous and forbearing friend to her brother, who 
was only seven years of age at the time of his father's death. His 
mother and other curators, evidently fearing that a change of Govern- 
ment might deprive them of the forfeited lands of the Covenanters, 
of which the late Earl and his son had received a gift from the 
Crown, made repeated efforts to obtain authority to dispose of them ; 
but the Lords of Council and Session refused their consent, and 
these lands were ultimately restored to their rightful owners. On 
attaining his majority, the Earl repaired to St. Germains and did 
homage to the exiled Prince, whom he continued to regard as his 
lawful sovereign. He there fell in love with Lady Winnifred Herbert, 
fifth and youngest daughter of the Marquis of Powis, whom he married 
in the spring of 1699, an< ^ brought to his house at Terregles. Earl 
William, like his predecessors, was a member of the Church of Rome, 
and like other Roman Catholics at that time, seems to have suffered 
a good deal of annoyance from the over-zealous and intolerant Pres- 
byterians of the district. Upon the 24th of December, 1703, a 
fanatical mob of upwards of a hundred persons, headed or instigated 
by the ministers of Irongray, Torthorwald, Kirkmahoe, and Tinwald, 
attacked the house of Terregles, under cloud of night, armed with 
guns, and swords, and other weapons, and under pretence of searching 
for priests and Jesuits, broke open the gates, violently entered the 
house, and searched all the rooms. All this was done while the Earl 
was absent, and the Countess indisposed and confined to her bed- 
chamber. Criminal letters were raised by the Earl against the ring- 
leaders in these outrageous and disgraceful proceedings, and they 
were summoned to appear before the Court of Justiciary to answer 
for their conduct. On the other hand, the minister of Irongray and 
his accomplices raised criminal letters against the Earl of Nithsdale 
and Maxwell of Kirkconnell, whom they accused of hearing mass in 
secret, and harbouring 'Jesuits, priests, and trafficking Papists.' In 
the end the case was compromised, and both actions were withdrawn. 

It is well known that even before the death of Queen Anne the 
leading Jacobites in Scotland had resolved to take up arms for the 
restoration of the exiled Stewarts to the British throne, and some of 
them had adopted measures to secure their estates, in case the enter- 
prise should fail. The Earl of Nithsdale was one of this class, and 
on the 28th of November, 17 12, he executed a disposition of his 

32 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

estates to his only son, reserving, however, his own life rent and that 
of his wife, with power to make some provision for their younger 
children. This prudent precaution saved the family estates from 
forfeiture, when the Earl was tried and condemned for his share in 
the rebellion of 17 15, though it did not prevent him from contracting 
heavy debts, which rendered it necessary that his affairs should be 
placed in the hands of trustees. 

In the year 17 15, when Mar raised the standard of rebellion in 
the Highlands, and the Northumbrian Jacobites took up arms under 
Mr. Forster and the Earl of Derwentwater, the adherents of the 
Stewart cause in Dumfriesshire and Galloway joined them on the 
Borders. As the Earl of Nithsdale was a Roman Catholic, it was 
deemed inexpedient to place him, as would otherwise have been 
done, at their head, and the chief command was given to Viscount 
Kenmure, the representative of the Galloway Gordons, who was a 
Protestant. The remembrance of the cruel persecutions of the Cove- 
nanters was too strong in the district to permit the great body of the 
people to show any zeal on behalf of the son of James VII. Even the 
tenants of the Jacobite leaders took up arms in support of the Govern- 
ment, and the Earl of Nithsdale, as he himself stated, was attended 
by only four of his own domestics when he joined the insurgents. 
The insurrection was so wretchedly mismanaged that it never had 
the slightest chance of success. The combined force advanced as 
far as to Preston, and was there surrounded by the royal troops, and 
compelled to surrender at discretion. The noblemen and principal 
officers were conveyed to London, and committed to prison. The 
Earl of Nithsdale and the other lords were sent to the Tower, and 
were brought to trial on January 19th, 17 16, before the House of 
Lords, on a charge of treason. They pleaded guilty, no doubt with 
the hope that a confession of guilt might possibly incline the King to 
grant them a pardon. Sentence of death was pronounced upon them 
by the Lord Chancellor Cowper, who acted as High Steward at the 
trial, and their execution was appointed to take place on the 24th of 

The Countess of Nithsdale remained at Terregles while the insur- 
rection lasted ; but on hearing of the surrender and imprisonment of 
the Earl in London, she resolved at once to join him, though it was 
the depth of winter, and a season of unusual rigour. Leaving her 
infant daughter in the charge of her sister-in-law, Lady Traquair, 
and burying the family papers in the garden, she set out, attended 

The Maxwells. 33 

only by her maid, Cecilia Evans by name. A heavy snowstorm had 
stopped the coaches, but she made her way on horseback across the 
Border, and then from Newcastle to York. There she found a place 
on the coach for herself alone, and was obliged to hire a horse for 
her maid. She wrote from Stamford, on Christmas Day, to Lady 
Traquair, mentioning the troubles she had experienced in her journey. 
' The ill weather,' she says, ' ways, and other accidents, has made 
the coach not get further than Grentun (Grantham), and the snow is 
so deep it is impossible it should stir without some change of weather; 
upon which I have again hired horses, and shall go the rest of the 
journey on horseback to London, though the snow is so deep that 
our horses yesterday were in several places almost buried in it. 
To-morrow I shall set forward again. I must confess such a journey 
I believe was scarce ever made, considering the weather, by a woman. 
But an earnest desire compasses a great deal with God's help. If I 
meet my dear lord well, and am so happy as to be able to serve him, 
I shall think all my trouble well repaid.' 

Lady Nithsdale reached London in safety, but on her arrival she 
was thrown, by her great anxiety and the hardships she had under- 
gone on her journey, into ' a violent sickness,' which confined her 
for some days to her bed. With considerable difficulty, and under 
some restrictions, she obtained admission to her husband in the 
Tower. 'Now and then, by favour,' she wrote, 'I get a sight of 

The Countess had no hopes that the King would relent, but to 
satisfy her husband, who did not despair of pardon, she consented to 
make an effort to present a petition to his Majesty, who she knew 
had taken precautions to prevent any one from obtaining access to 
him, on behalf of the condemned lords. Knowing that he must 
pass through a public room between the royal apartment and the 
drawing-room, she waited for him there. As he passed she knelt 
down and presented the petition, telling him in French that she was 
the unhappy Countess of Nithsdale. King George, who was a coarse 
and brutal man, passed on, taking no notice of her. She laid hold 
of the skirt of his coat, pathetically appealing to his mercy, and was 
dragged by him, upon her knees, from the middle of the public apart- 
ment to the door of the drawing-room. One of the royal bodyguard 
put his arms round her waist and pulled her back, while another of 
them disengaged the skirt of the King's coat from her hand. The 
poor lady was left, almost fainting, on the floor. The petition which 


34 Jhe Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

she tried to put into the King's pocket was picked up by a bystander 
and given to the Earl of Dorset, who was the Lord of the Bedchamber 
then in waiting. He contrived to get the petition read more than 
once to the King, and to make his Majesty aware that the King of 
England never used to refuse a petition from the hands of the poorest 
woman, and that it was a gratuitous and unheard-of brutality to treat 
as he did a person of Lady Nithsdale's quality. As might have been 
expected from his character and habits, the ex-Hanoverian Elector, 
so far from feeling sorry for his behaviour, was only embittered 
against the Countess by the manner in which his treatment of her 
was condemned. So far did he carry his resentment, that when the 
ladies whose husbands had been concerned in the insurrection put in 
claims for their jointures, he declared that Lady Nithsdale did not 
deserve, and should not obtain hers, and to this determination he 

obstinately adhered. 

The noble-minded lady, however, still persevered in her efforts to 
save the life of her husband. On the 2 1st of February, the Rev. J. Scott 
wrote to Lady Traquair, < I must needs doe my Lady the justice of 
assuring your ladyship that she has left no stone unturned, that she 
has omitted nothing that could be expected from the most loving 
wife on earth.' He adds that she presented her petition to the 
King in such a manner that ' the whole Court was moved to a tender 
compassion. The whole town applauds her and extolles her to the 
skyes for it, and many who thirst after the blood of the others, wish 
my Lord Nithisdaill may be spared to his Lady.' 

A petition craving the intercession of the House of Lords was 
presented by the wives of the condemned noblemen, and an address 
to the King, praying that he would reprieve such of them as should 
deserve his mercy, was carried, on the 22nd of February, by a 
majority of five. The Ministers, at a meeting of Council held the 
same evening, resolved to comply with the feeling of the House, so 
far as to respite the Earls of Carnwath and Nithsdale, and Lords 
Widdrington and Nairne ; but to prevent any further interference, 
the Earl of Derwentwater and Viscount Kenmure were ordered for 
execution next morning. The Countess of Nithsdale had, however, 
given up all hope of a reprieve, for she was aware that the proviso 
attached to the address to the King meant that those only should be 
recommended for pardon who would give information respecting 
their friends that had taken part, though less openly, in the insur- 
rection. But she well knew, as she says, that her lord would never 

The Maxwells. 35 

purchase life on such terms. 'Nor,' adds the high-minded woman, 
' would I have desired it.' 

As the execution of the condemned lords was appointed for the 
24th, there was no time to lose in carrying out the project she had 
secretly formed of effecting the Earl's escape in woman's clothes. 
To further her design, she says in the account which she gave of 
the enterprise, after the Lords had agreed to petition the King, she 
hastened to the Tower, and putting on a joyous air she went up to 
the guards at each station, and told them that she brought good 
news. There was now, she said, no fear of the prisoners, as the 
motion that the Lords should intercede with the King had passed. 
She rightly judged that the sentries, believing that the prisoners were 
on the eve of being pardoned, would become, of course, less vigilant. 
At each station she gave the guards some money, bidding them 
drink the health of the King and the Peers. But she was careful, as 
she says, not to be profuse in her gifts, in case they should suspect 
that she had some design on foot in which she wished to obtain their 

Lord Nithsdale was confined in the house of Colonel D'Oyly, 
Lieutenant-Deputy of the Tower, in a small room which looked out 
on Water Lane, the ramparts, and the wharf, and was sixty feet 
from the ground. The way from the room was through the Council 
Chambers. The door of his room was guarded by one sentinel, 
that floor by two, the passages and stairs by several, and the outer 
gate by two. Escape under such circumstances seemed to be 
impossible, and Lady Nithsdale mentions that ' her chief difficulty 
lay in persuading the Earl to take advantage of the means she had 
planned for his escape. It would have seemed to him a more likely 
means of escape to force his way, sword in hand, through the guard.' 
Lord Nithsdale was still ignorant, on the 22nd, of his lady's design 
for his deliverance ; and on that day he wrote a farewell letter to his 
brother-in-law, the Earl of Traquair, and the Countess, his own 
sister. He also prepared a dying speech, which he intended to read 
on the scaffold, stating the reasons why he had taken part in the 
rebellion, and expressing his regret that he had pleaded guilty 
at his trial. 

The morning of the 23rd, the last before the intended execution, 
was spent by Lady Nithsdale in making preparations for her attempt, 
especially in securing the assistance of a Mrs. Morgan, a friend of 
her maid, Mrs. Evans. When she was ready to go, she sent for 

36 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

Mrs. Mills, at whose house she was lodging, and said : ' Finding 
now there is no farther room for hope of my lord's pardon, nor 
longer time than this night, I am resolved to endeavour his escape. 
I have provided all that is requisite for it, and I hope you will not 
refuse to come along with me, to the end that he may pass for you. 
Nay, more, 1 must beg you will come immediately, because we are 
full late.' Lady Nithsdale had very judiciously delayed this request 
till the last possible minute, so that Mrs. Mills might decide on the 
impulse of the moment, out of sympathy for the condemned noble- 
man, and she at once gave her consent. Lady Nithsdale then 
desired Mrs. Morgan, who was tall and slender — her height not un- 
like Lord Nithsdale's — to put under her own riding-hood another 
which the Countess had provided to put on Mrs. Mills, who was to 
give her own to the Earl. All three then stepped into the coach 
which was waiting for them, and ' not to give them leisure to think 
of the consequences,' as they drove to the Tower * her ladyship con- 
tinued without ceasing to talk with them.' 

On arriving at their destination, Lady Nithsdale took in Mrs. 
Morgan, as she was allowed to take in only one person at a time, 
Within the Earl's chamber Mrs. Morgan took out and left the riding- 
hood which she had brought beneath her clothes, and then Lady 
Nithsdale conducted her out again, going with her partly down-stairs, 
saying to her at parting, ' Pray do me the kindness to send my maid 
to me, that I may be dressed, else I shall be too late with my petition.' 
Having thus sent away Mrs. Morgan, the Countess took Mrs. Mills 
into the room, who came in holding her handkerchief to her face, as 
though in tears, intending that the Earl should go out in the same 
manner, in order to conceal his face from the guards. The two ladies 
when alone with the Earl set about disguising him. His eyebrows 
were black and thick, while those of Mrs. Mills were somewhat yellow, 
but some yellow paint on his eyebrows, and ringlets of the same 
coloured hair, which the Countess had brought, put this to rights. 
He had a long beard, which there was not time to shave, but the 
Countess covered it with some white paint, and put a little red upon 
his cheeks. Mrs. Mills next took off the riding-hood in which she 
came, and put on instead that which Mrs. Morgan had brought. 
They then equipped the Earl in the riding-hood which the guards 
had seen on Mrs. Mills as she came in, and completed his disguise 
by the aid of some of Lady Nithsdale's petticoats. 

These arrangements having been made, Lady Nithsdale opened 

The Maxwells. 37 

the door and led out Mrs. Mills, saying aloud, in a tone of great 
concern, ' Dear Airs. Catherine, I must beg you to go in all haste 
and look for my woman, for she certainly does not know what o'clock 
it is, and has forgot the petition I am to give, which should I miss is 
irreparable, having but this one night. Let her make all the haste 
she can possible, for I shall be upon thorns till she comes.' There 
were nine persons, the sons and daughters of the guards, in the 
anteroom through which she passed with Mrs. Mills while uttering 
these words, who all seemed to feel for the Countess, and readily 
made way for her companion. The sentinels at the outer door opened 
it immediately and let Mrs. Mills out, who did not go out as she 
had come in, with a handkerchief at her eyes, as if weeping. Lady 
Nithsdale then returning to the Earl, ' and having got him quite 
ready, now she thought was the time for action.' It was growing 
very dark, and afraid lest the keepers should bring in the candles, 
which would have defeated her pains, she without longer delay came 
out of the room, leading by the hand the Earl, who was clothed in the 
attire of Mrs. Mills, and held a handkerchief about his eyes, as if in 
tears, which served to conceal his face. To prevent suspicion she 
spoke to him, apparently in great grief, loudly lamenting that her 
maid, Evans, had been so neglectful, and had ruined her by her long 
delay. ' So, dear Mrs. Betty,' she added, ' run and bring her with 
you, for God's sake ! You know my lodgings, and if ever you made 
haste in your life do it now, for I am almost distracted with this dis- 
appointment.' The guards believing that a reprieve was at hand, 
had not taken much heed of the ladies coming and going, nor had 
exactly reckoned their number. They quickly opened the door, with- 
out the least suspicion, to Lady Nithsdale and her disguised lord,* 
and both accordingly went down-stairs, she still conjuring him, as 
' dear Mrs. Betty,' to make haste. As soon as they had passed the 
door, Lady Nithsdale stepped behind the Earl, lest the sentinels 
might have noticed that his gait was far different from a lady's. At 
the foot of the stairs she found Mrs. Evans, to whom she committed 
her companion, and having then seen him safe out of the Tower, she 
returned to his room. 

It had been arranged that the husband of Mrs, Mills was to wait 
for them in the open space before the Tower. He had come accord- 

* 'From the woman's cloak and hood,' says Allan Cunningham, 'in which the 
Earl was disguised, the Jacobites of the north formed a new token of cognizance : all 
the ladies who favoured the Stewarts wore "Nithsdales," till fashion got the better of 
political love.' — Songs of Scotland, iii. p. 188.. 

2 8 The Great Historic Families of Scotla?id. 

ingly, but on seeing Mrs. Evans and the disguised nobleman he 
completely lost his head, and, instead of assisting them, ran home. 
Mrs. Evans, however, retained her presence of mind, and conducted 
Lord Nithsdale to a house near Drury Lane belonging to a friend of 
her own, in whom she could confide. Thence proceeding to Mrs. 
Mills's house, she learnt from her where the place of concealment 
was which she had provided. It was a house just before the Court 
of Guards, belonging to a poor woman who had but one little room 
up a small pair of stairs, and containing one little bed. 

Meanwhile, Lady Nithsdale was engaged, in the chamber lately 
occupied by the Earl, in keeping up appearances to make the guards 
believe that he was still there. ' She affected to speak to him and 
to answer as if he had spoken to her, imitated his voice, and walked 
up and down the room as if they had been walking and talking 
together, till she thought he had time enough to be out of reach.' 
' I then began to think,' she adds, ' it was fit for me to get out of it 
also.' Then opening the door to depart she went half out, and 
holding it in her hand, so that those without might hear, she took 
what professed to be an affectionate and solemn leave of her lord 
for that night, saying that something more than usual must have 
caused the delay of Mrs. Evans in coming to her, and adding that 
she must go herself in search of her. She promised that if the 
Tower were still open after she had done she would see him again 
that night, but that otherwise she would see him in the morning, 
and hoped to bring hirn good news. Before shutting the door she 
drew to the inside a little string that lifted up a wooden latch, so that 
it could only be opened by those within, and she then shut the door 
with a flap, so that it might be securely closed. As she was passing 
out she told the Earl's valet de c/uwibre, who knew nothing of the 
plan of escape, that his lordship was at prayers, and did not wish the 
candles brought till he called for them. 

On leaving the Tower Lady Nithsdale took one of the hackney 
coaches waiting in the open space, and drove first to her own lodg- 
ings. There she dismissed the coach for fear of being traced, and 
went in a sedan-chair to the house of Anne, Duchess of Buccleuch, 
who, as the widow of the unfortunate Monmouth, could sympathise 
with Lady Nithsdale in her anxieties. The Duchess had promised to 
accompany her when she went to present her petition. She did not 
go up to the Duchess, as she had company, but left a message at her 
door, with her ' most humble service,' to say that her Grace need not 

The Maxwells. 59 

give herself any further trouble, as it was now thought fit to present 
a general petition in the name of all the condemned lords. Again 
changing her conveyance and calling another sedan-chair, Lady 
Nithsdale went to the house of the Duke of Montrose. His Grace was 
a supporter of the Government, but the Duchess, a daughter of the 
Earl of Northesk, was her personal friend. Lady Nithsdale being 
shown into a room up-stairs, the Duchess quickly joined her. 'There,' 
as she wrote, ' as my heart was very light, I smiled when she came 
into the chamber, and ran to her in great joy. She really started 
when she saw me, and since owned that she thought my head was 
turned with trouble till I told her my good fortune.' 

The Duchess recommended her to go to a place of safety, as the 
King was greatly incensed against her on account of the petition 
which she had presented to him, and declared that she would go to 
the Court, and see how the news of the Earl's escape was received. 
She went accordingly and found that ' the Elector,' as she termed 
him, ' had stormed terribly,' and said ' he was betrayed, for such an 
event could not have happened without connivance;' and he imme- 
diately despatched two of his suite to the Tower to see that the other 
prisoners were well guarded. At a later time, when his anger had 
subsided, he is said to have remarked that ' for a man in my Lord's 
situation it was the very best thing he could have done.' 

On leaving the Duchess of Montrose, Lady Nithsdale went to 
a house which Mrs. Evans had previously found for her, and was in- 
formed by that clever and trusty domestic of the Earl's hiding-place, 
to which she immediately repaired. Referring to the ' poor little bed,' 
in the room, she says : ' Into this bed we were forced to go immedi- 
ately, for feare they should heare more walking than usual. She 
[Mrs. Evans] left us a bottle of wine and some bread, and Mrs. Mills 
brought us some more the next day in her pocket ; but other things 
we gott nott, from Thursday evening to Saturday evening, that Mrs. 
Mills came when it was dark, and cary'd my Lord to the Venetian 
Ambassador's. She did not communicate the affair to his Excellency, 
but one of his servants concealed him in his own room till Wednes- 
day.' On that day a servant of the ambassador, Mitchell by name, 
was ordered to £0 down to Dover with a coach and six horses to 
bring the ambassador's brother to London. The Earl put on a livery 
coat and travelled as one of the train to Dover, where, hiring a 
small vessel, he crossed without suspicion, and, accompanied by 
Mitchell, landed safe at Calais. The passage across was made 

40 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

so quickly that the master of the vessel remarked that the wind could 
not have served better if his passengers had been fleeing for their 
lives — little thinking that this was really the case. 

The escape of Lord Nithsdale delighted not only the Jacobite 
friends of the family, but even many of the supporters of the Hano- 
verian dynasty. Lady Cowper, the wife of the Lord Chancellor, thus 
notes the event in her Diary : — ' It is confirmed that Lord Nithes- 
dale is escaped. I hope he'll get clear off. I never was better 
pleased at anything in my life, and I believe everybody is the same.'* 
The ' cummer,' in the homely contemporary song entitled ' What 
news to me, cummer ? ' declares that she had brought ' the best news 
that God can gie,' that ' our gude Lord of Nithesdale has won frae 
' mang them a' ; ' but — 

' Alake the day ! ' quo' the cummer, 

' Alake the day,' quo' she, 
' He's fled awa' to bonnie France, 

Wi' nought but ae pennie ! ' 
' We'll sell a' our corn, cummer, 

We'll sell a' our bear, 
And we'll send to our ain lord 
A' our sett gear.' 

It soon appeared that though the Nithsdale tenantry had sent their 
lord ' a' their gear,' he would have spent it all on his own selfish 

The Countess remained for some time concealed in London, having 
learned that so long as she kept out of sight she would not be 
molested, but that if she appeared in public, either in England or 
Scotland, she would be apprehended. Her presence, however, was 
urgently required in Scotland. The Earl had sent for her to come 
up to town in such haste that she had no time to settle his affairs, 
and she had been obliged to conceal the family papers, as they would 
otherwise have fallen into the hands of the enemy, who, she was sure, 

* There is a close resemblance between the manner in which Lord Nithsdale 
escaped from the Tower and the escape of Count Lavalette from the Conciergerie prison 
at Paris, in 1815. The likeness, however, was from mere coincidence, and not at all 
from imitation. But though the treatment which the Countess of Nithsdale received 
from King George and his Ministers was mean and ungenerous, it contrasts favourably 
with the cruel and, indeed, brutal treatment by the Bourbon Government of Madame 
Lavalette, a niece of the Empress Josephine. She had been in childbed only a few 
weeks before her husband's escape, and her strength was not returned. She had to 
remain behind in the prison chamber occupied by the Count, and was kept there for 
six weeks, all access of friends or domestics, or even of her daughter, denied her. Her 
reason gave way, and after she was released from the prison she had to be placed in 
an asylum. Her mental malady hung upon her for twelve years, and she continued 
subject to a settled melancholy until her death in 1855. 

The Maxwells. 41 

would search the house, as they did, after her departure. ' In short,' 
she says, ' as I had once exposed my life for the safety of the father, 
I could do no less than hazard it once more for the fortune of the son.' 
The Countess accordingly went to Scotland, saved the family papers, 
lived there for some weeks without molestation, and then returned to 
London. ' On my arrival,' she says, ' the report was still fresh of my 
journey into Scotland, in defiance of their prohibition. A lady in- 
formed me that the King- was extremely incensed at the news, that 
he had issued orders to have me arrested ; adding that I did whatever 
I pleased in spite of all his designs, and that I had given him more 
anxiety and trouble than any woman in all Europe ; ' and he gave 
orders that she should be searched for. She was advised by her 
friends that in these circumstances she would do wisely to leave 

Lady Nithsdale embarked accordingly, in July, with the intention 
of proceeding to France, but in consequence of a violent attack of 
sea-sickness, she was obliged to land on the coast of Flanders, where 
she was detained some time by a miscarriage, and a dangerous ill- 
ness. She joined her husband in October at Lille, but that re-union 
did not bring her all the happiness which she had fondly hoped. 
Writing to her sister, Lady Traquair, from Paris, February 29, 17 17, 
she gives an affecting account of her troubles and privations. After 
in vain attempting to get her husband into the service of the 
Chevalier, she says, ' My next business was to see what I could get 
to live on, that we might take our resolutions where to go accord- 
ingly. But all I could get was one hundred livres a month, to main- 
tain me in . everything — meat, drink, fire, candles, washing, clothes, 
lodging, servants' wages — in fine, all manner of necessaries. My 
husband has two hundred livres a month, but considering his way of 
managing, it was impossible to live upon it. . . . For let me do 
what I will, he cannot be brought to submit to live according to what 
he has ; and when I endeavoured to persuade him to keep in com- 
pass, he attributed my advice to my grudging him everything, which 
stopped my mouth, since I am very sure I would not [grudge] my 
heart's blood if it could do him any service. ... It was neither 
in gaming, company, nor much drinking that it was spent, but in 
having the nicest of meat and wine, and all the service I could do 
was to see he was not cheated in the buying of it. I had a little, 
after our meeting at Lille, endeavoured to persuade him to go back- 
to his master, upon the notice that he received that fifty livres a 

42 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

month was taken off his pension ; but that I did not dare persist in, 
for he seemed to imagine that I had a mind to be rid of him, which 
no one would have thought would scarce come into his mind.' After 
mentioning that some of her husband's friends had persuaded him 
to follow his master to Rome, she adds, ' I, having no hope of getting 
anything out of England, am forced to go to the place where my son 
is, to endeavour to live, the child and me, upon what I told you. All 
my satisfaction is, that at least my husband has twice as much to 
maintain himself and man as I have; so I hope that when he sees 
there is no resource — as indeed now there is not, having sold all, even 
to the necessary little plate I took so much pains to bring over — he 
will live accordingly, which will be some comfort to me, though I 
have the mortification to be from him, which, after we met again, I 
hoped never to have separated ; but God's will be done, and I submit 
to this cross, as well as many others I have had in the world, though 
I must confess living from a husband I love so well is a very great 

When Lord Nithsdale made his escape to France, he went straight 
to Paris, and there, in the course of the spring, he received a pressing 
invitation from the Chevalier to go to him. ' As long- as I have a 
crust of bread in the world,' he said, ' assure yourself you shall 
always have a share of it.' When the Earl ultimately joined his 
master at Urbino, he did not receive the cordial welcome to which, 
with good reason, he deemed himself entitled. He was exposed to 
various mortifications at the court of the exiled Prince, and the 
nearer view which he obtained of the government of the Pontiff, 
either in sacred or civil affairs, does not appear to have given him 
much satisfaction. ' Be assured,' he wrote to Lady Nithsdale, ' there 
is nothing in this damnable country that can tend to the good either 
of one's soul or body.' He was bent on leaving the mimic court of 
the Chevalier, where he was so much neglected, and was with great 
difficulty induced by the strong representations of his wife and his 
brother-in-law to remain. The Chevalier himself ' was pleased to 
tell him that he had so few about him he would not part with him.' 

The Earl, in the hope that his Countess would obtain a situation in 
the household of the Chevalier on his marriage, which was now 
settled, requested her to join him in Italy as soon as possible, since 
in these matters it is ' first come first served.' He could, however, 
send her no funds for the journey, but bade her apply to Lord and 
Lady Traquair, to whom she was already under many obligations. 

The Maxwells. 43 

By their aid, and a small sum paid to her by order of the Chevalier, 
the Countess was enabled to join her husband at Urbino, and after 
a brief interval to proceed with him in the Chevalier's train to Rome. 
But the Earl's self-indulgent habits were unchanged. ' I found him,' 
she wrote to his sister, ' still the same man as to spending, not being 
able to conform himself to what he has, which really troubles me. 
And to the end that he might not be able to make me the pretence 
which he wished, I do not touch a penny of what he has, but leave 
it to him to maintain him and his man, which is all he has, and live 
upon what is allowed me.' 

The Chevalier, like his forefathers, was addicted to favouritism, and 
was then under the dominion of two unworthy creatures of the para- 
site class — Colonel the Hon. John Hay, a son of Lord Kinnoull, and 
his wife Marjory, a daughter of Lord Stormont. They kept at a dis- 
tance Lady Nithsdale and all other persons who would not promote 
their influence and ends. ' But,' wrote the Countess, ' that and 
many other things must be looked over ; at least we shall have bread 
by being near him, and I have the happiness over again to be with 
my dear husband that I love above my life.' 

Year after year did this noble-minded lady continue to maintain a 
courageous spirit under that ' hope deferred which makes the heart 
sick.' Her sorest trial was the want of forethought and considera- 
tion on the part of her husband in borrowing and spending. ' All 
my comfort is,' she writes Lady Traquair, ■ that I have no share in 
this misfortune, for he has never been the man that has offered me 
one farthing of all the money he has taken up, and as yet all is spent, 
but how is a riddle to me, for what he spends at home is but thirty 
pence a day in his eating. . . . For my part, I continue in mourning 
as yet for want of wherewithal to buy clothes, and I brought my 
mourning with me that has served ever since I came, and was neither 
with my master's or husband's money bought.' The Earl was evi- 
dently a poor creature, selfish and self-indulgent, utterly unworthy of 
his generous, devoted wife. He threw the blame of his borrowing and 
misspending on the Countess and his daughter, who never received 
from him a single penny ; and he had even the baseness to say to the 
Chevalier that some property belonging of right to himself was un- 
fairly detained by his brother-in-law, the Earl of Traquair, on whom 
he had time after time drawn bills, trusting to his generosity for their 
acceptance. Not doubting the truth of the statement, the Chevalier 
wrote to one of his agents that he would take it kindly if Traquair 

44 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

would settle those affairs with his kinsman to his satisfaction. ' I 
must say,' wrote Lady Traquair to her brother (January, 1724) in 
justifiable resentment, ' it is very unkind, and a sad return for all 
the favours my husband has done you before, and since you went 
abroad, for he, having no effects of yours save a little household 
furniture of no use to us, and what I could not get disposed of, has 
honoured vour bills, supplied your wants without a scrape of a pen 
from you ; besides the considerable sum you owed him formerly, he 
even, under God, has preserved your family, which without his 
money, credit, and his son's assiduous attendance and application 
must humanly speaking have sunk. He might reasonably have 
expected other returns from you than complaints to one we value so 
infinitely as we do Sir John [the Chevalier], as if my husband had 
wronged you and detained your own, when your sufferings justly call 
for the greatest consideration.' 

Although Lady Nithsdale continued to suffer from her great 
troubles and illnesses, and not least from the improvident and selfish 
conduct of her husband, several events occurred to cheer her. After 
long litigation in the Court of Session and the House of Lords, the 
entail which Lord Nithsdale had executed in 1 7 1 2 was sustained, 
and Lord Maxwell, his sole surviving son, would succeed to the 
family estates at the Earl's death. Practically, he came into posses- 
sion of them even before that event, since the life interest of his 
father was purchased from the Government for his benefit. Lady 
Anne Maxwell, the only daughter of Lord and Lady Nithsdale, was 
married to Lord Bellew, an Irish nobleman, at Lucca, in 1731, Lord 
Maxwell, who was now resident in Scotland, had become attached 
to his cousin, Lady Catherine Stewart, daughter of Lord and Lady 
Traquair, and made her an offer of marriage. The old connection 
between the two families, their constant friendship, and their agree- 
ment both in religion and politics, rendered the proposed alliance 
every way suitable, and it appears to have received the cordial appro- 
bation of Lady Nithsdale and Lord and Lady Traquair. But for 
some unmentioned reason — no doubt a selfish one — Lord Nithsdale 
for a considerable time withheld his consent. The marriage at 
length took place, however, in the course of the year 1731, and 
appears to have been as happy as Lady Nithsdale anticipated. As 
no sons were born from it, the male line of this ancient family 
terminated at Lord Maxwell's death. 

Lord Nithsdale continued to live at Rome in debt and difficulties, 

The Maxwells. 4^ 

still hoping that the exiled Stewart family might be restored to 
the throne of their ancestors ; but he did not live to witness the 
last enterprise on their behalf. He died at Rome in March, 1744. 
After his decease his widow was induced, though not without 
difficulty, to accept an annuity of ^200 a year from her son, who 
then came into full possession of the family estates. Of this annuity 
she resolved to apply one-half to the payment of her husband's debts, 
which would by this means be extinguished at the end of three 
years. When this desirable consummation was attained, in beautiful 
harmony with her unselfish and generous character, she caused 
intimation to be made by her agent to Lord Maxwell that ' as his 
father's debts are now quite extinguish'd, his lady mother will have no 
occasion for more than one hundred pounds sterling per annum from 
him henceforth. She is now quite easy, and happy that she is free of 
what was a great and heavy burthen upon her.' Nothing further is 
known of Lady Nithsdale's declining years, but she appears to have 
grown very infirm. She survived her husband five years, and died in 
the spring of 1749 at Rome, where in all probability both she and 
Lord Nithsdale were buried, but no trace can be found of their last 
resting-place. She worthily sustained the spirit of that ancient and 
illustrious family from w r hich she was descended, and on her may be 
justly bestowed the well-known eulogy contained in the inscription 
on the monumenr of her ancestress, Mary Sydney, third Countess of 
Pembroke, in Salisbury Cathedral : — 

' Underneath this marble hearse 
Lies the subject of all verse, 
Sydney's sister, Pembroke's mother; 
Death, ere thou hast slain another 
Wise, and fair, and good as she, 
Time shall throw a dart at thee.' 

Lady Nithsdale's name, Mr. Fraser says, is never mentioned by 
her descendants ' but with the utmost honour, gratitude, and affec- 
tion.' She deserves to be had 'in everlasting remembrance.' 

William, Lord Maxwell, her son, succeeded to the family estates 
the year before the last great insurrection in behalf of the Stewarts. 
His sympathies were no doubt in favour of that ill-fated race, but his 
good sense, fortunately, kept him from taking any part in that des- 
perate enterprise. He seems to have led a quiet, retired, and some- 
what indolent life. Lady Catherine Stewart, his wife, died at Paris 
in 1765. Lord Maxwell survived her eleven years. His death took 

46 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

place at London in August, 1776. He had no male issue, and of 
his two daughters the elder, Mary, died in her fifteenth year; the 
younger, Winnifred, succeeded to the Nithsdale estates. ' Lady 
Winnifred,' as she was usually termed, in her twenty -third year 
married William Haggerston Constable of Everingham, in the county 
of York, second son of Sir Carnaby Haggerston, and heir of his 
maternal erand-uncle, Sir Marmaduke Constable, Bart., whose name 
he assumed. The mother of the young lady was delighted with the 
match. She described this ' fine English squire,' in a letter to the 
Countess of Traquair, as ' a very sensible, well-bred, pretty gentle- 
man, and a good Roman Catholic' She goes on to say that ' Winny 
was much startled at first at his prodigious size ; but now, I think, 
she seems to have got over that fault, which, indeed, is the only one 
can be found to his appearance ; but that's certain he's among the 
tallest men I ever saw, so your ladyship may judge what sort of a 
figure they will make together ; ' but, as she sensibly adds, ' that is 
not an essential matter as to happiness.' Lady Winnifred bore to 
her husband (who on his marriage assumed the name of Maxwell 
before that of Constable) three sons and four daughters. She became 
a correspondent of Burns, who wrote to her in high Jacobite terms ; 
and when the present mansion-house was to be built for the perma- 
nent residence of Lady Winnifred and her husband, the poet indited 
a song, entitled 'Nithsdale's Welcome Hame,' which, however, dis- 
plays more cordial feeling than poetical genius. Mr. Maxwell Con- 
stable died in June, 1787, but his wife survived till July, 1801. 
' During the time that Lady Winnifred possessed the Nithsdale and 
Herries estates, which was about a quarter of a century, she resided 
chiefly at Terregles, where she dispensed a very generous and almost 
unbounded hospitality. She seldom sat down to dinner without a 
company of between twenty and thirty friends and neighbours. 
Terregles in her day was a kind of open house, where friends and 
neighbours frequently came, and stayed without any formal previous 
arrangement. Such hospitality became costly, and Lady Winnifred 
found it necessary to sell the barony of Duncow, the lands of New- 
lands, Craigley, Deanstown, and other portions of the estates.'* 

Lady Winnifred was succeeded in the Nithsdale and Herries estates, 
including the baronies of Carlaverock and Terregles, by her eldest 
son, Mr. Marmaduke Constable Maxwell, who possessed them about 
eighteen years. He died suddenly at Abbeville, in Fiance, on the 

* Book of Carlaverock, i. p. 493. 

The Maxwells. 47 

way to Paris, in June, 18 19. In 18 14 he executed a most judicious 
deed of entail for the settlement of his property, under which the 
Everingham and Nithsdale estates were to descend to his eldest son, 
now Lord Herries. But as he considered his lands in Scotland 
and England to be fully adequate to the maintenance in a suitable 
manner of two separate families, he disposed the lands and baronies 
of Terregles and Kirkgunzeon, and others, to Marmaduke Constable 
Maxwell, his second son, and to his heirs male, whom failing, to his 
other sons successively, and their heirs male. According to the 
Doomsday Book, the Everingham estate contains 6,858 acres, with a 
rental of ,£8,205 ; the lands in Dumfriesshire and the Stewartry of 
Kirkcudbright, belonging to Lord Herries, comprise 9,237 acres, 
yielding £"7, 143 a year ; while the Terregles estate, now possessed 
by Alfred Peter Constable Maxwell, Esq., extends to 15,803 acres, 
with a rental 01^12,109 12s. — amply sufficient to maintain two fami- 
lies in a ' suitable manner.' 

In the year 1848 an Act of Parliament was passed in favour of 
William Constable Maxwell, Esq., and all the other descendants of 
William, fifth Earl of Nithsdale, reversing the forfeiture of that noble- 
man ; and in virtue of this Act, Mr. Constable Maxwell claimed the 
dignity of Lord Herries, as having been originally conferred on heirs 

The Committee for Privileges of the House of Lords reported on 
2nd June, 1858, that Mr. Constable Maxwell had made out his claim, 
and in virtue of that decision he became tenth Lord Herries of 
Terregles. He died in 1876, leaving a family of seven sons and 
nine daughters. The family title and estates are now possessed by 
his eldest son, Marmaduke Constable Maxwell, eleventh Baron 
Herries. His third son, the Hon. Joseph Maxwell, married in 1874 
Mary Monica, daughter and heiress of the late James Robert Hope 
Scott, Esq., of Abbotsford, and great-granddaughter and only sur- 
viving descendant of Sir Walter Scott. 

There are no fewer than five baronetcies held by members of 
the house of Maxwell ; namely, those of Pollok, Calderwood, Car- 
doness, Monreith, and Springkell. There are also numerous and 
influential junior members of the family, most of them settled in 
the southern counties of Scotland, such as the Maxwells of 
Munches, Broomholm, Kirkconnell, Brediland, Parkhill, Dargavel, 
Breoch, &c. 

The most powerful and celebrated of all the branches of the main 

48 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

stock were the Maxwells of Herries, who, as we have seen, 
became ultimately the representatives of the house. 

The original family of Herries was of Norman origin, and settled 
in Nottinghamshire. One of them migrated into Scotland during 
the reign of David I. (1124 — 1 153), and like other Anglo-Norman 
barons, obtained grants of land from that monarch and his succes- 
sors. Sir Herbert Herries, of Terregles, was created a lord in 
1489. His eldest son, Andrew, the second Lord Herries, and four of 
his brothers, fell at Flodden. William, the third Lord Herries, died 
in 1543, leaving three daughters, co-heiresses. The eldest, Agnes, 
married in 1547 Sir John Maxwell, second son of Robert, fifth Lord 
Maxwell ; Katherine, the second, became the wife of Sir Alexander 
Stewart of Garlies, ancestor of the Earls of Galloway ; Janet, the 
third, married Sir James Cockburn of Stirling. 

Sir John Maxwell, fourth Lord Herries of Terregles, was one 
of the most prominent and active politicians during the troublous 
times of Queen Mary and James VI. He was born about the vear 
15 12. As he was for a time heir-presumptive to his brother, and 
then to two of his nephews, who were minors, he was frequently 
designated Master of Maxwell. His position as tutor to his nephews, 
and possessor of a great part of the Herries estates, made him one of 
the most powerful barons in the south of Scotland and gave him 
great influence at Court. He subsequently acquired from the sisters 
of his wife their shares of their father's property, and thus the whole 
of the extensive Herries estates were vested in him. The Regent, 
Arran, had intended to marry Agnes, Lady Herries, to whom he 
was tutor, to his own son, John Hamilton, but he resigned the lady 
to John Maxwell, in order to detach him from the Earl of Lennox 
and the English faction. The ostensible reasons for this step were 
the good service which Sir John had rendered in drawing a great 
part of the inhabitants of the West Borders from the assurance of the 
English to the obedience of 'our sovereign lady ' and the Regent, 
his rescuing from the ' auld enemies ' of Scotland the houses of 
Torthorwald and Cockpule and divers other strengths, and his expel- 
ling the English from those parts of the kingdom. But in addition 
mention is made of a much more cogent reason — the payment of 
' divers great sums of money ' to Arran ' and profits for his 

After the death of his brother, Robert, sixth Lord Maxwell, in 

The Maxwells. 49 

September, 1562, the Master of Maxwell was appointed Warden of the 
West Marches, but he resigned it in the following year, on the ground 
that he was at deadly feud with most of the clans of that district, 
and the office was temporarily conferred upon his uncle, Sir James 
Douglas of Drumlanrig. Maxwell exerted himself with character- 
istic energy to restore and maintain peace on the Borders, but he 
encountered many difficulties, especially from the remissness both of 
the great proprietors and of the yeomen, in accompanying him on 
days of truce, and also from the reluctance of Lord Dacre, the English 
Warden, to redress the Border grievances of which he complained. 
When dissensions arose between Queen Mary and many of her nobles 
on account of her marriage with Darnley, Sir John Maxwell laboured 
to obtain redress for the Protestant lords, and entertained them most 
honourably at Dumfries. He, in consequence, incurred the dis- 
pleasure of the Queen, which was not, however, followed by any 
injurious consequences. When Mary and Darnley came to Dumfries 
with all their forces, in pursuit of the Earl of Moray and the other 
nobles engaged in the 'Roundabout Raid,' they sent Sir John Max- 
well to intercede for them with the Queen, as he had taken no action 
against her, though he professed to belong to the confederate lords. 
His intercession, if it was really made, was of no avail. But he 
made his own peace with Mary, and returning to Dumfries told the 
lords that he could not help them, and advised them to flee into 
England. All his past offences were forgiven him by the Queen and 
her husband, and on January 1st, 1565-6, they declared that after 
an investigation by the Lords of the Secret Council, they believed 
all the charges against him ' to be perfectly untrue and founded 
upon particular malice ; ' and as to some of the charges, ' they 
understood right perfectly the plain contrary. He has been and is our 
true servant and our good justiciar, and in execution of our service 
has taken great travails and pains, bearing a weighty charge in the 
common service of this our realm many years by-past, and executed 
the laws upon the many and notable offenders, defending our good 
subjects from such enormities and oppressions as is laid to his charge ; 
nor has received no augmentation or any reversion, as is unjustly 
alleged, nor no gold from England ; neither has nor will discover our 
secrets to them nor others, to the hurt of us his sovereign, this our 
realm, nor subjects.' Her majesty also faithfully promised that if 
Sir John, who, in the execution of justice on malefactors, had fallen 
under the deadly feud of the principal clans and broken men of the 
VOL. 11. k 

50 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

West Marches, should be slain or die during the time of his exercise 
of the office of Warden, his wife and eldest son should have the ward 
of all his lands and heritable possessions which by his decease should 
fall into the hands of the Crown, with the marriage of his son and heir 
for the time. A short time afterwards his holding of his lands and 
baronies was changed from ward and relief to free blench in con- 
sideration of his * good, faithful, and gratuitous services in the exer- 
cise of the offices of warden and justiciar for the space of twenty- 
two years or thereby past; by whom, with vast solicitude and 
sustained effort, and by the execution of justice upon a great number 
of perverse men, chief factions, and malefactors, dwelling in 
the said West Marches, who formerly could be restrained by no 
means from theft, slaughter, and depredation, the country was 
reduced to due and lawful obedience ; for which service rendered and 
justice administered the said John remained under the mortal hatred 
of a great number of factions and perverse men within the said 
bounds, and in that service he had spent a great part of his life and 
had incurred great expense.'* 

Sir John Maxwell became Lord Herries in the end of the year 
1566, and was thenceforth known by that designation throughout the 
momentous affairs in which he took a prominent part. When Both- 
well was brought to trial for the murder of Darnley, Lord Herries 
was one of the assize who acquitted him, on the ground of an error, 
which was no doubt designed, respecting the day on which the crime 
was committed ; but Sir James Melville asserts that when a rumour 
went abroad that Mary was about to marry the murderer of her hus- 
band, Lord Herries came expressly to Edinburgh to entreat her, on his 
knees, not to take that fatal step, and that the Queen recommended 
him to leave the city at once, in order to avoid Bothwell's resent- 
ment. It has been argued that this statement is scarcely recon- 
cilable with the fact that Lord Herries sat on Bothwell's assize; that 
he signed the bond recommending Bothwell as a suitable husband 
to the Queen (the most disgraceful and cowardly of all the base 
transactions of the Scottish nobility of that age), and that he was one 
of the witnesses to the marriage contract subscribed by them on the 
14th of May, 1567, the day before the marriage took place. But 
these proceedings are quite in keeping with the portrait drawn of him 
at this juncture by Throckmorton, the English ambassador, in a letter 
to Sir William Cecil. 

* Book of Carlaverock, i. pp. 513-14. 

TJie Maxwells. 51 

' The Lord Herryes,' he writes, ' ys the connynge horse leache, 
and the wysest of the wholle faction ; but as the Ouene of Scotland 
sayethe of hym, there ys no bodye can be sure of hym ; he takethe 
pleasure to beare all the worlde in hande ; we have good occasyon to 
be well ware of hym. Sir, you remember how he handled us when 
he delyvered Dumfryse, Carlaverocke, and the Hermytage into our 
handes. He made us beleave all should be ours to the Fyrthe ; and 
when wee trusted hym, but how he helped to chase us awaye, I am 
sure you have not forgotten. Heere amongst hys owne countrymen 
he ys noted to be the most cautelous man of hys natyon. It may 
lyke you to remember he suffered hys owne hostages, the hostages 
of the Lord of Loughanon and Garles, hys nexte neigh bouris and 
frendis, to be hanged for promesse broken by hym. Thys muche I 
speeke of hym because he ys the lykelyest and most dangerous man 
to enchaunte you.' * 

Lord Herries was one of the nobles who subscribed at Dumbarton, 
in July, 1567, a bond for supporting Queen Mary against the con- 
federate lords; but on the 14th of October he came to Edinburgh 
and acknowledged the coronation of the infant King and the authority 
of the Regent Moray. ' He was minded,' as James Melville said, 
'to the present weal and quietness of the State.' He attended the 
meeting of Parliament in December, 1567, which ratified Mary's 
resignation of the Crown, confirmed the coronation of the King and 
the regency of the Earl of Moray, and pronounced the imprisonment 
of the Queen lawful. The Regent, on the other hand, declared that 
he forgave Lord Herries and the other nobles who had formed the 
Queen's party all that they had done on her behalf. All the Acts 
passed by the Estates in 156 1 in favour of the Protestant religion 
were ratified by this Parliament. 

At this meeting of the Estates Lord Herries delivered ' a plausible 

* The event referred to occurred in 1547. Maxwell had promised to support the 
Earl of Lennox in an attempt to recover by force his estates in Scotland, on condition 
that he would abandon the English interest, and had arranged to meet with a strong 
body of horse, at Dumfries, the Earl of Lennox, and Lord Wharton, the English Warden. 
He delivered to Lord Wharton certain gentlemen as pledges for the performance of 
his promise. The Regent Arran, however, induced Maxwell to break his word ; and 
when Lennox came to Dumfries he found no troops there for his assistance. A 
detachment of horse, which he sent out to reconnoitre the district, encountered and 
defeated a body of the Borderers commanded by the Laird of Drumlanrig. The 
Master of Maxwell, who was present, narrowly escaped with his life. Lord Wharton 
retreated into England, and by the orders of the English Council he hanged at Car- 
lisle Maxwell's pledges, one of whom was the Warden of the Greyfriavs in Dumfries, 
and another the Vicar of Carlaverock. 

52 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

oration,' ' eulogizing the nobles who from the beginning had adopted 
measures for the punishment of the Earl of Bothwell, and defended 
them in imprisoning in Loch Leven the Queen, whose inordinate 
affection to that wicked man was such that she could not be persuaded 
to leave him.' He declared that he and those in whose names he 
spoke would hazard their lives and lands for maintaining the cause in 
which these nobles had embarked, and that if the Queen herself were 
in Scotland with twenty thousand men, this would not alter their 
purpose.* And yet, before the close of the month, Lord Herries 
and his associates, who had thus publicly declared their adherence to 
the King's Government, entered into a bond pledging themselves to 
do their utmost to effect the liberation of the Queen from her prison 
in Loch Leven. On Mary's escape, 20th May, 1568, Lord Herries 
and others, who at the last Parliament had solemnly pledged them- 
selves to support the throne of the infant King, entered into a bond 
for the defence of the person and authority of the Queen. The 
Scottish nobles of that day seem to have been utterly lost to all 
sense of truth or honour. 

At the battle of Langside Lord Herries commanded Mary's horse, 
who were almost all dependents and tenants of Lord Maxwell, his 
nephew. On the defeat of the Queen's army he accompanied her in 
her flight, and conducted her to his own house at Terregles, where 
she rested some days. Thence she went to Dundrennan Abbey ; 
and when, in spite of his earnest entreaties, she persisted in throwing 
herself on the protection of Elizabeth, he accompanied her to Car- 
lisle. By her orders he posted to London, carrying letters to the 
English Queen, expressing her strong desire for a personal inter- 
view, which was declined. He acted as one of her commissioners 
at York and Westminster, and took an active part in the negotia- 
tions and intrigues for her restoration to liberty. With the view of 
accommodating matters between the two parties, a meeting took 
place between the leaders on each side, at which an agreement was 
made that the Duke of Chatelherault would acknowledge the 
authority of the infant King, and the Regent became bound to get 
the sentence of forfeiture pronounced on Queen Mary's friends 
rescinded, and their estates restored. But at the convention which 
followed the Duke showed a disposition to recede from his promise, 
and pleaded for delay in taking the oath of allegiance to the King. 
Upon this the Regent imprisoned him in the castle of Edinburgh, 
* Robertson's History of Scotland, Appendix, xxiv. 

The Maxwells. 


and along with him Lord Herries, on whom he laid the whole blame 
of the Duke's vacillating- conduct, but they recovered their liberty 
shortly after the assassination of the Regent. 

Lord Herries ultimately submitted to the King's Government on 
the conclusion of the treaty of peace at Perth, 23rd February, 1572-3, 
between the Regent Morton, and Chatelherault and Huntly repre- 
senting the Queen's party; but he took part with other nobles in the 
plot to deprive Morton of the office of Regent, and was appointed 
one of the council of twelve who were to assist the young King when 
he assumed the government. He attached himself to the party of 
Esme Stewart, Lord d'Aubigny, the royal favourite, who was created 
Earl and Duke of Lennox, and made various unsuccessful efforts to 
effect a reconciliation between him and his enemies, before the Duke 
was sent out of the kingdom. 

Lord Herries died suddenly, on Sunday, 20th January, 1582, when 
going to an upper chamber in William Fowkes's lodging, in the time 
of sermon, ' to see the boys bicker.' He said before dinner that he 
durst not trust himself to go to the afternoon's preaching, because he 
found himself weak. Leaning to a wall, he fell down by little and 
little, saying to a woman who followed, ' Hold me, for I am not 
weale.'* His wife survived him ten years. They had issue four 
sons and seven daughters. William Maxwell, the eldest son, 
succeeded his father as fifth Lord Herries ; and John Maxwell, 
the eldest of his eight sons, became sixth Lord Herries in 1603, but 
nothing worthy of special notice occurred in their history. John 
Maxwell, the seventh Lord Herries, as we have seen, succeeded as 
third Earl of Nithsdale, on the death of his kinsman Robert, second 
Earl, without issue, in 1667. 

* Caldervvood's History, viii. p. 232. 


HE Johnstones were at one time among the most powerful, 
as they are one of the most ancient, of the Border septs. 
The 'rough-footed clan,' as they were termed, with the 
winged spur as their appropriate emblem, and the words 
' Aye ready ' for their motto, were originally settled in East Lothian, 
but for at least four hundred years they have held extensive posses- 
sions on the Western Marches, where they kept vigilant watch 
and ward against the English freebooters, carrying on at the 
same time sanguinary feuds with their powerful neighbours and 
rivals, the Crichtons of Sanquhar and the Maxwells of Nithsdale. 
Their designation is territorial, and was derived from the barony and 
lands of Johnstone in Annandale, which have been in their possession 
from a very remote period. The first of the family on record was 
Sir John de Johnstone, one of the Scottish barons who swore fidelity 
to Edward I. of England, in 1296. His great-grandson, also a Sir 
John de Johnstone, was conspicuous for his valour in the defence of 
his country in the reigns of David II. and Robert II. In 1370 he 
defeated an English invading army, and two years later was ap- 
pointed one of the guardians of the Western Marches. His son, who 
bore the same name, got 300 of the 40,000 francs sent by the 
King of France, in 1385, to be divided among the Scottish nobles to 
induce them to carry on hostilities against their common enemies, 
the English. His son, Sir Adam Johnstone, was one of the com- 
manders of the Scottish army at the battle of Sark, in 1448, in which 
they gained a signal victory over the English invaders — an exploit 
commemorated in glowing terms by Wyntoun in his ' Chronicle.' 
Sir Adam also took a prominent part on the royal side in the desperate 
struggle between James II. and the Douglases, and was very instru- 
mental in the suppression of the rebellion of that great house against 

The Johnstones of Annandale. 55 

the Crown. He was rewarded by the King with a grant of the lands 
of Pettinane, in Lanarkshire, and the Johnstones have ever since 
borne along with their ancestral arms the heart and crown of 
Douglas, as a memorial of the important service rendered to the 
roval cause by their ancestor at that critical period. Sir Adam's 
eldest son was the progenitor of the Annandale or main branch of 
the family, while Matthew, his second son, who married a daughter 
of the Earl of Angus, chief of the ' Red Douglases,' was the ancestor 
of the Westerhall branch. 

The chief seat of the Johnstones in those days of ' rugging and 
riving ' was Lochwood, in the parish of Johnstone, the position of 
which, in the midst of bogs and morasses, made it a fortalice of great 
strength, and led to the remark of James VI., in allusion to the 
purpose which it served as a stronghold of freebooters, that ' the man 
who built it must have been a thief at heart.' Lochwood, however, 
was not the only fastness in which the Johnstones stored their booty. 
A few miles from Moffat there is a remarkable hollow, surrounded 
by hills on every side except at one narrow point, where a small 
stream issues from it. ' It looks,' says Pate in Peril, in ' Redgaunt- 
let,' ' as if four hills were laying their heads together to shut out any 
daylight from the dark hollow space between them. A deep, black, 
blackguard-looking abyss of a hole it is, and goes straight down 
from the roadside as perpendicular as it can do to be a heathery 
brae. At the bottom there is a small bit of a brook that you would 
think could hardly find its way out from the hills that are so closely 
jammed round it.' This inaccessible hollow bore the name of the 
' Marquis's Beef-stand,' or ' Beef-tub,' because ' the Annandale 
loons used to put their stolen cattle in there.' * 

* The Beef-stand was the scene of a remarkable adventure to a Jacobite gentleman 
while on the road to Carlisle to stand his trial for his share in the rebellion of 1745. 
He made his escape from his guards at this spot in the manner which Sir Walter Scott 
makes Maxwell of Summertrees, who bore the sobriquet of ' Pate in Peril,' describe 
in graphic terms as an adventure of his own : — 

' I found myself on foot,' he said, ' on a misty morning with my hand, just for fear 
of going astray, linked into a handcuff, as they call it, with poor Harry Redgauntlet's 
fastened into the other ; and there we were trudging along with about a score more that 
had thrust their horns ower deep in the bog, just like ourselves, and a sergeant's guard 
of redcoats, with two file of dragoons, to keep all quiet and give us heart to the road. . . . 
Just when we came on the edge of this Beef-stand of the Johnstones, I slipped out my 
hand from the handcuff, cried to Harry, " Follow me," whisked under the belly of 
the dragoon horse, flung my plaid round me with the speed of lightning, threw myself 
on my side, for there was no keeping my feet, and down the brae hurled I, over heather, 
and fern, and blackberries, like a barrel down Chalmers' Close in Auld Reekie. I never 
could help laughing when I think how the scoundrel redcoats must have been bum- 

5 6 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

The Johnstones, unlike the Armstrongs, Elliots, and Grahams, 
1 sought the beeves that made their broth ' only in Cumberland and 
Northumberland, though they would probably have had no scruples 
in making a prey of any outlying cattle belonging to the Maxwells, 
with whom they had a hereditary feud. Lord Maxwell, the head of 
this great family, was in the sixteenth century the most powerful man 
in the south-west of Scotland. But the Johnstones, though inferior in 
numbers and power, were able, through their valour, and the strong 
position which they held in the mountainous district of Annandale, to 
maintain their ground against their formidable rivals. In 1585 Lord 
Maxwell opposed the profligate government of the worthless royal 
favourite, James Stewart, Earl of Arran, and was in consequence 
declared a rebel. According to the common, but most objectionable 
practice of that period, the Court gave a commission to Johnstone, his 
enemy, to proceed against him with fire and sword, and to apprehend 
him ; and two bands of hired soldiers, commanded by Captains Cran- 
stoun and Lammie, were despatched to Johnstone's assistance. They 
were intercepted, however, on Crawford Moor, by Robert Maxwell, 
of Castlemilk, and after a sharp conflict the mercenary forces were 
defeated. Lammie and most of his company were killed, and 
Cranstoun was taken prisoner.* Maxwell followed up his success by 

bazed ; for the mist being, as I said, thick, they had little notion, I take it, that they 
were on the verge of such a dilemma. I was half-way down — for rowing is faster wark 
than rinning — ere they could get at their arms; and then it was flash, flash, flash, 
rap, rap, rap, from the edge of the road; but my head was too jumbled to think any- 
thing either of that or of the hard knocks I got among the stones. I kept my senses 
together, whilk has been thought wonderful by all that ever saw the place ; and I 
helped myself with my hands as gallantly as I could, and to the bottom I came. There 
I lay for half a moment ; but the thought of a gallows is worth all the salts and scent- 
bottles in the world for bringing a man to himself. Up I sprung like a four-year-old colt. 
All the hills were spinning round me like so many great big humming-tops. But there 
was no time to think of that neither, more especially as the mist had risen a little with 
the firing. I could see the villains like sae many craws on the edge of the brae ; and I 
reckon that they saw me, for some of the loons were beginning to crawl down the hill, 
but liker auld wives in their red cloaks, coming frae a field-preaching, than such a 
souple lad as I. Accordingly they soon began to stop and load their pieces. " Good- 
e'en to you, gentlemen," thought I, " if that is to be the gate of it. If you have any 
farther word with me you maun come as far as Carriefraw-gauns." And so off I set, and 
never buck went faster ower the braes than I did ; and I never stopped till I had put 
three waters, reasonably deep, as the season was rainy, half-a-dozen mountains, and a 
few thousand acres of the warst moss and ling in Scotland betwixt me and my friends 
the redcoats.' 

Sir Walter Scott says he saw in his youth the gentleman to whom the adventure 
actually happened. 

* In relating this incident Sir Walter Scott says, ' It is devoutly to be wished that this 
Lammie may have been the miscreant who, in the day of Queen Mary's distress, when 
she surrendered to the nobles at Carberry Hill, " his ensign being of white taffety, had 

The Johnstones of Annandale. 57 

setting fire to Johnstone's castle of Lochwood, remarking with savage 
glee that he would give Lady Johnstone light enough by which ' to 
set her hood.' Unfortunately, besides the ' haill house, bedding, and 
plenisching,' Johnstone's charter-chest, containing the whole muni- 
ments of the family, and many other valuable papers, perished in the 

In a subsequent conflict between the two hostile clans, Johnstone 
himself was defeated and taken prisoner. He was a person of a very 
proud spirit, and took his defeat so much to heart that after his 
liberation he is said to have died of grief, in the beginning of the 
year 1586. 

The feud between the Johnstones and the Maxwells became more 
and more deadly, and led to the battle of Dryfe Sands, the murder 
of the chief of the Johnstones, and the death on the scaffold of John, 
ninth Lord Maxwell. \_Sce The Maxwells.] 

James Johnstone, the chief of the Johnstone clan, was created 
by Charles I., Lord Johnstone of Lochwood, in 1633. Ten years 
later he was made Earl of Hartfell. He was a staunch Rovalist, 
joined Montrose after the battle of Kilsyth, August, 1645, was taken 
prisoner at the battle of Philiphaugh, and was tried at St. Andrews 
and condemned to death ; but his life was spared through the inter- 
cession of the Marquis of Argyll. The only son of Lord Hartfell 
obtained the Earldom of Annandale in addition to his hereditary 

The lordship of Annandale was one of the oldest and most 
honourable titles in the south of Scotland. It was bestowed by 
David I. on Robert de Brus, ancestor of the illustrious restorer of 
Scottish independence, who was himself the seventh Lord of Annan- 
dale. After the battle of Bannockburn, the lordship of Annandale 
was conferred by King Robert on his nephew, the valiant Ran- 
dolph, Earl of Moray. It formed part of the dowry of his daughter, 

painted on it the cruel murder of King Henry, and laid down before her Majesty at 
what time she presented herself as prisoner to the Lords." It was very probably so, as 
he was then, and continued to be till his death, a hired soldier of the Government. 
Nine months after the incident in question, the following entry appears in the Lord 
Treasurer's books, under March 18, 1567-8: "To Captain Andro Lambie, for his 
expenses passand of Glasgow to Edinburgh to uplift certain men of weir, and to make 
ane Handsenyie of white taffety, ^"25" [Scots]. He was then acting for the Regent 
Moray. It seems probable that, having spoiled his ensign by the picture of the 
king's murder, he was now gratified with a new one at the expense of his employer.' — 
See Domestic Annals of Scotland, i. p. 156, note, and Border Minstrelsy, ii. p. 134, note. 

5 8 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

the famous ' Black Agnes ' of Scottish history, and was carried by 
her to the Dunbars, Earls of March. On the attainder and banish- 
ment of these fickle and versatile barons, their Annandale dignities 
and estates were bestowed, in 1409, on the Earl of Douglas. After 
remaining for about fifty years in the possession of the Douglases, 
Annandale was forfeited, along with their other estates, on the 
attainder of James, ninth and last Earl of the original branch of 
that doughty house. The title of Earl of Annandale, after lying 
dormant for a hundred and sixty-nine years, was revived in 1624, in 
favour of Sir James Murray, Viscount of Annand and Lord Murray of 
Lochmaben, a descendant of Sir William Murray of Cockpool and 
Isabel, sister of Earl Randolph. The title, however, became extinct 
on the death of the second Earl in 1658. Three years later it was 
once more revived by Charles II., who created the Earl of Hartfell, 
the chief of the Johnstones, Earl of Annandale, Viscount Annand, 
and Lord Johnstone of Lochwood, Lochmaben, Moffatdale, and 
Evandale. He died in 1672, and was succeeded by his only son — 

William, second Earl of Annandale and third Earl of Hartfell. 
He held successively the offices of an Extraordinary Lord of Session, 
one of the Lords of the Treasury, President of the Scottish Parlia- 
ment, Keeper of the Privy Seal, and was three times Lord High 
Commissioner to the General Assembly. He was created Marquis of 
Annandale in 1701, and was appointed, in 1705, one of the principal 
Secretaries of State, but was dismissed from that office in the follow- 
ing year in consequence of his opposition to the Union. The Earl 
had three sons by his first wife and two by his second, who all died 
unmarried. His eldest daughter, Lady Henrietta, married, in 1699, 
Charles Hope, created Earl of Hopetoun in 1703. 

James, second Marquis of Annandale, died at Naples in 1730, 
having enjoyed the family dignities and estates only nine years. His 
half brother George, third and last Marquis, was a man nervously 
timid and reserved, distrustful of himself and of his ability to transact 
business with other people, but not quite incapable at first of managing 
his affairs, though excitable and liable to be drawn into fits of passion 
by causes not susceptible of being anticipated. In 1745 he was 
placed under the charge of the celebrated philosopher and historian, 
David Hume, but after a twelvemonth's trial he was constrained to 
abandon the irksome and uncongenial task. An inquest held under 

The Johns tones of Annandale. 59 

the authority of the Court of Chancery, 5th March, 1748, found that 
the Marquis had been a lunatic since 12th December, 1744. On his 
death, in 1792, the family titles became dormant, and the estates 
devolved upon his grandnephew James, third Earl of Hopetoun. 
The accumulated rents of his estates, amounting- at his death to 
^415,000, were the subject of long litigation both in England and 
Scotland. The ' Annandale cases ' contributed greatly to settle in 
Britain the important principle that the movable or personal estate 
of a deceased person must be distributed according to the law of the 
country where he had his domicile at the time of his death. The 
Earl of Hopetoun had no male issue, and his eldest daughter Anne 
married Admiral Sir William Hope Johnstone, whose eldest son, 
John James Hope Johnstone, inherited the Annandale estates, and 
claimed the titles of his maternal ancestor. 

Mr. Hope Johnstone was one of the most respected and influential 
country gentlemen of his day, and there was a strong desire among 
all classes and parties that he should be successful in his suit. When 
the case was first considered, in the year 1834, Lord Brougham, who 
was then Lord Chancellor, was very favourable to the claim, and 
delivered an elaborate opinion in its support. An opposition, how- 
ever, was started, which was countenanced by Lord Campbell, and 
the claim lay over for ten years. In 1844 an adverse decision was 
given by Lord Lyndhurst. The question turned upon the construc- 
tion of the words, ' heirs male ' in the patent of the Earldom of 
Annandale in 1661, which are capable of being construed to 
mean heirs male general, or heirs male of the body, according to 
circumstances. Upwards of thirty years afterwards, it was dis- 
covered that, unknown to their lordships, or the law officers of the 
Crown, or to Mr. Hope Johnstone, a transaction had taken place 
nearly two hundred years before, which made an important 
change in the destination of the peerage. It is a recognised prin- 
ciple in the law of Scotland that a Scottish peer, previous to the Act 
of Union, provided he obtained the sanction of the Crown, might 
alter the limitation of his honours, in precisely the same manner as he 
might alter the destination of his estates. He resigned his honours 
just as he resigned his land for a re-grant from the Crown, and if the 
re-grant were made in favour of a different series of heirs from those 
who would have been entitled to succeed under the original grant, 
the dignities passed with the old precedence into the new line of suc- 
cession. The resignation bars the previous heirs, and the re-grant 

60 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

which follows upon it vests the old peerage in the new series of heirs. 
Now a resignation of this kind of his titles and estates was made 
by the second Earl of Hartfell, on the ioth of June, 1657, and was 
followed by a re-grant bearing date 13th February, 1661. But the 
bond of resignation was not known to be in existence, and was not 
discovered until 1876. It was brought to light by Mr. William 
Fraser, of the Register House, the eminent authority on peerage law, 
in a manner which reads like an incident in a romance. About the 
middle of the last century Mr. Ronald Crawfurd and his successor in 
business, Mr. John Tait, grandfather of the late Archbishop of 
Canterbury, were the law agents in Edinburgh of the third Marquis 
of Annandale, and of his tutor in law and heir of his estates, the Earl 
of Hopetoun. The Annandale muniments were of course deposited 
with Messrs. Crawfurd and Tait ; and though these gentlemen ceased 
to be the Annandale agents on the succession of Lady Anne John- 
stone Hope in 1816, it appears that a considerable number of 
important documents belonging to the family remained in the posses- 
sion of the firm, and of their present representatives, Messrs. Tait and 
Crichton. This fact was unknown to them, as well as to the posses- 
sors of the Annandale estates and their present law agents. Mr. 
Fraser, however, became aware from investigations made by him on 
other questions, that Messrs. Tait and Crichton were in possession of 
a large collection of ancient documents of various kinds, and as their 
firm had at one time been agents for the Annandale estates, it seemed 
highly probable that among these documents there would be some 
papers which might throw light on the Annandale peerage case. Mr. 
Fraser readily received permission from these gentlemen to make an 
examination of their old papers. 

He found that these were contained in thirty- four leather bags, and 
large canvas sacks, which had lain for many years in the chambers 
of the present firm and their predecessors. In one of these leather 
bags Mr. Fraser discovered a document entitled ' Bond of Talzie 
and Resignation, by James, second Earl of Hartfell and Lord 
Johnstone, of his honours, titles, and dignities of Earl of Hartfell, and 
Lord Johnstone of Lochwood, Moffatdale, and Evandale; and also 
of his whole lands, Baronies, and Lordships, Regalities, Offices, 
and Patronages, &c.,' which on examination proved to be of vital im- 
portance in determining the destination of the honours and heritages. 
It appears that in 1657, when the resignation was made, the Earl 
had been twelve years married, and had four daughters but no son. 

The Johnstones of Annandale. 61 

He had no brothers, or uncles, or near male kinsmen, but he had two 
sisters, Lady Janet, wife of Sir William Murray of Stanhope, and 
Lady Alary, wife of Sir George Graham of Netherby, ancestor of the 
late distinguished statesman, Sir James Graham. As his peerages 
were at this time limited to heirs male general, they must at his death 
have passed to very remote collateral heirs. His object, therefore, 
was to make new arrangements for the descent of his titles and 
estates, in order to bring in his daughters and sisters and their 
descendants. For this purpose he executed ths deed of resigna- 
tion in 1657, during the time of the Commonwealth. In the 
ordinary course a re-grant of the titles and estates would have 
followed immediately, but, probably owing to the peculiar position l of 
public affairs when < there was no king in Israel,' nothing further 
was done to carry the Earl's desire into effect until after the Restora- 
tion As Lord Hartfell and his father had suffered fines and imprison- 
ment in the royal cause, and the former had even been condemned to 
death, and narrowly escaped execution, for his devoted loyalty 
Charles II. very readily granted the boon solicited by his devoted 
follower, and a re-grant was made to him of his titles and estates on 

the 13th February, 1661. . 

Meanwhile, however, the earldom of Annandale, which had been 
held by the Murrays of Annandale, had become extinct by the 
death of the last Earl of that family ; and the King being earnestly 
desirous, as the patent says, of conferring some mark of his 
favour upon the Earl of Hartfell, and of his accumulating honours 
upon honours, ' as a reward for his faith, love, services and 
losses, and that his heirs may be encouraged to follow in his steps, 
granted to him and his heirs the titles, honours and dig* 1 ty of 
Earl of Annandale, in addition to that of Earl of Hartfell and Lord 
Johnstone. After this incident four sons were born to the Earl, the 
eldest survivor of whom inherited these renewed titles, and was in 
addition created Marquis of Annandale. That dignity along with 
the other family honours, fell into abeyance, on the death of his 
fourth son, George, third Marquis of Annandale, 1792. /he altera- 
tion made by the re-grant in regard to the titles and estates of tne 
family was to the effect that, instead of being limited to heirs male in 
general, they were to descend to the heirs male of the second Earl of 
Hartfell, whom failing, to his two sisters and their ^ male and 
female. Armed with this important document, Mr. J. Hope jonn- 
stone, the heir male of a female heir, and possessor of the estates, 

62 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

presented a petition to the House of Lords requesting- their lord- 
ships to reconsider his claim to the family honours, and to reverse 
their decision on the case in the year 1844 ; and pleading- that accord- 
ing to the principles of the law and practice of the courts of Scot- 
land, this course is quite competent when a new document is pro- 
duced which is material to the issue, the existence of which was 
previously unknown to the petitioner, owing to no neglect or want 
of diligence on his part. 

Mr. Hope Johnstone died in 1877 at a good old age, but the suit 
was continued by his grandson, who succeeded him in the family 
estates. His claim appeared quite good as far as the double earl- 
dom and the viscounty and barony are concerned, but it was more 
doubtful as regards the marquisate, which was created in 1701 in 
favour of William, second Earl of Annandale and third Earl of 
Hartfell. The limitation is to that Earl and ' his heirs male whomso- 
ever,' and if these words had stood alone, the claimant, as repre- 
senting a female heir, would not have been entitled to succeed to this 
dignity ; but they are qualified by the addition of the words ' suc- 
ceeding him in his lands and estates in all time coming.' It would 
appear, therefore, that the marquisate is limited to those heirs who 
' in all time coming ' shall succeed to the family estates, and Mr. 
Hope Johnstone contends that in accordance with the mode in which 
the succession to the peerages of Dupplin, Seafield, Rosebery, 
Lothian, and Rothes has been regulated, he, as a male heir in 
possession of the Annandale estates, is entitled also to the dignity 
and titles which, as the patent shows, were intended to be united to 
the estates in all time coming. 

An objection however was taken to the deed of resignation, that 
it was made when Oliver Cromwell governed the kingdom as Pro- 
tector, and this plea was sustained by the law lords. Lord Blackburn 
said, ' T doubt whether the Government of Cromwell and his Court 
would have taken any more notice of a. Scottish peerage than one of 
our courts of law would take of such a title as that of the " Knight 
of Kerry " — an honourable title, but one which has no legal validity.' 

Lord Gordon concurred with Lord Blackburn, but said, ' At the 
same time I should perhaps express more difficulty than he has done 
in reference to the effect of the resignation.' 

The result was that the House of Lords decided that they saw no 
reason for departing from the judgment which they had pronounced 
in 1844. 

The Johnslones of Anna7idale. 63 

It seems very strange that the Lords should have decided that 
the resignation had no legal validity, when Charles II. treated 
it as valid by making a re-grant of the titles and estates in the 
year 1661. Thomas Carlyle expressed himself emphatically in 
favour of the validity of the document, and his opinion has been 
endorsed by the general verdict of the public. 

The Annandale titles are claimed also by Sir Frederick John- 
stone, of Westerhall, the representative of a junior branch of the 
family, descended from Matthew Johnstone, younger son of Sir 
Adam Johnstone. James Johnstone, knight, the seventh in descent 
from him — an apostate Presbyterian — has obtained an unenviable 
notoriety as the cruel and brutal persecutor of the Covenanters. One 
of that body who was dying was sheltered by a pious widow of the 
name of Hislop, who lived near Westerhall, and died under her roof. 
This fact came to Johnstone's knowledge, and he immediately pulled 
down the widow's house, carried off her property, and dragged her 
eldest son, Andrew, who was a mere stripling, before Graham of 
Claverhouse in order that he might be condemned to death. For 
once that cruel persecutor was in a clement mood, the prayers of 
John Brown, whom he had recently put to death, having, it is 
reported, left a strong impression on his obdurate heart. He seems 
to have felt pity for the poor lad, and recommended that his case 
should be delayed. Johnstone, however, insisted that the sentence 
of death should be executed at once, and Claverhouse at last yielded, 
saying to Westerhall, ' This man's blood shall be on you ; I am free 
of it.' He then ordered the captain of a company of Highlanders 
who were with his troop to shoot the prisoner, but he peremptorily 
refused, declaring that he ' would fight Claverhouse and all his 
dragoons first.' Graham then commanded three of his own dragoons 
to execute the sentence. When they were ready to fire they desired 
Hislop to draw his bonnet over his eyes. ' No,' replied the youth ; 
1 1 can look my death -bringers in the face without fear. I have done 
nothing of which I need be ashamed.' Then, holding up his Bible, 
he charged them to answer for what they were about to do at the 
Great Day, when they should be judged by that book. As he 
uttered these words the dragoons fired and shot him dead, and he 
was buried where he fell. The Covenanting chronicler who has 
recorded this incident adds, with evident satisfaction, that ' Wester- 
hall died about the Revolution (1699) m great torture of body and 
horror and anguish of conscience, insomuch that his cries were 

6 4 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

heard at a great distance from the house, as a warning to all such 


When the cause of James VII., under whose reign and special 
directions the Covenanters were so cruelly tortured and put to death, 
became hopeless, Westerhall, as might have been expected, lost no 
time in abandoning the fallen monarch, and joined the party of the 
Prince of Orange. Probably as a reward for his timely defection from 
the cause of the exiled monarch, John Johnstone, the eldest son 
of the trimming persecutor, was created a baronet of Nova Scotia, in 
1 700. His nephew married the Dowager Marchioness of Annandale, 
daughter and heiress of John Vanden-Bempde, of Harkness Hall, 
Yorkshire, and is the ancestor of Sir Harcourt Vanden-Bempde 
Johnstone, Lord Derwent. The Johnstones of Alva are descended 
from John Johnstone, a younger son of the third baronet, a distin- 
guished officer who commanded the artillery at the battle of Plassey, 
and made himself conspicuous by the strong interest which he took 
in the affairs of the East India Company. 

Sir William Johnstone, the fifth baronet, inherited an estate 
yielding only a small rental, though of large extent, but he became 
one of the richest commoners in Great Britain. He acquired an 
immense fortune in America, purchased the burgh of Weymouth, 
which at that time returned four members to the House of Commons, 
and sat in seven successive Parliaments. He married the niece and 
heiress of General Pulteney, and of the Earl of Bath, the celebrated 
leader of the Opposition against Sir Robert Walpole. His only child, 
who married Sir James Murray in 1794, inherited the Pulteney estates 
and was created Countess of Bath. Sir William Johnstone survived 
till 1805. His baronetcy, the Westerhall estate, the borough of 
Weymouth (in these days a source both of wealth and of political 
influence), and the extensive territory which he had acquired in 
America, were all inherited by his nephew, Sir John Lowther 
Johnstone, grandfather of the eighth and present baronet, Sir 
Frederick John William Johnstone. He and his twin brother 
were born after the death of their father, who was killed by the 
fall of his horse in the hunting-field, 7th May, 1841. 


jMONG the many beautiful districts on the Scottish Borders, 

there is not one more lovely in its scenery, or more 

interesting in its associations — legendary, historical, and 

poetical — than the vale of the Tweed from Peebles to 

Selkirk. The ancient, sleepy borough itself — the scene of the 

curious old poem of ' Peblis to the Play,' and which, according to 

Lord Cockburn, is more quiet than the grave — the ruins of Neid- 

path Castle, with its reminiscences of the Frasers, the Hays, and the 

Douglases ; and of Haystone, Horsburgh, Cardrona, and Elibank, 

and the rest of that chain of fortalices which, in the ' riding times,' 

kept watch and ward on the Borders against the inroads of the 

English invaders; the picturesque village of Innerleithen, the 

prototype of ' St. Ronan's Well,' and the fine river, clear, broad, 

and deep, rolling cheerily along its pebbly bed — form a picture 

which no Scotsman can look upon without emotion. In the midst 

of this beautiful and interesting scene, at the opening of the vale of 

the Quair, and nearly opposite the spot where the Leithen Water 

falls into the Tweed, stands the ancient House of Traquair, the seat 

of the Earls of that title, ' a grey forlorn-looking mansion, stricken all 

over with eld.' The gateway, which opens upon the grassy and 

untrod avenue, is ornamented with a huge ' Bradwardine stone bear ' 

on each side, the cognisance of the family — most grotesque supporters, 

with a superfluity of ferocity and canine teeth. The wrought-iron 

gate, in the time of the late proprietors, was embedded in a foot deep 

or more of soil, never having been opened since the '45. In the 

immediate vicinity is the remnant of the ' Bush aboon Traquair ' — 

1 Birks three or four, 
Wi' grey moss bearded owre, 
The last that are left o' the birken shaw,' 

rendered classic by the well-known song of Crawford. 

In later times the Quair, on whose bank the far-famed group of 
vol. ir. f 

66 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

birches stood, has been noticed in a song written by the late Rev. 
James Nicol, minister of the parish, beginning- ' Where Quair 
runs sweet amang the flowers ; ' and by James Hogg, the Ettrick 
Shepherd, in his well-known song, ' O'er the hills to Traquair.' 

To the east of Traquair lies Minchmoor, over which Montrose made 
his escape from Philiphaugh — lofty, yet round and flat, fragrant with 
recollections of Sir Walter Scott and Mungo Park, the African 
traveller ; and to the south-west and south are the green pastoral 
hills of Ettrick and Yarrow, ' round-backed, kindly, and solemn,' 
with 'lone St. Mary's Lake' in their bosom; and Dryhope Tower, 
the residence of the ' Flower of Yarrow ; ' and Blackhouse Tower, the 
scene of the Douglas tragedy ; and the ' Dowie Dens of Yarrow,' 
immortalized in Scottish song, and which have been the subject of 
more and better poetry than even the celebrated Vale of Tempe. 

The house of Traquair consists of a tower of remote antiquity, to 
which considerable additions were made in the reign of Charles I. 
by the powerful Earl who held the office of High Treasurer of Scot- 
land under that monarch. Its walls are of great thickness; its 
accommodation is for the most part that of a long-bygone age, 
and it has an antique, deserted-looking aspect. 

' A merry place it was in days of yore, 
But something ails it now — the place is curst.' 

' The whole place,' said Dr. John Brown, ' like the family whose it 
has been, seems dying out — everything subdued to settled desola- 
tion. The old race, the old religion, the gaunt old house, with the 
small deep comfortless windows, the decaying trees, the stillness 
about the doors, the grass overrunning everything — nature reas- 
serting herself in her quiet way — all this makes the place look as 
strange and pitiful among its fellows in the vale as would the Earl 
who built it three hundred years ago, if we met him tottering along 
our way in the faded dress of his youth; but it looks the Earl's house 
still, and has a dignity of its own.' 

The estate of Traquair was originally a royal domain, and was 
conferred by Robert Bruce on his warm friend and devoted adherent, 
Lord James Douglas. After passing through various hands, it came 
into possession of an ancestor of the Murrays of Elibank, and was 
forfeited by William Murray in 1464. It was given to William 
Douglas of Cluny, but was almost immediately thereafter assigned to 
the Boyds. On the forfeiture of Robert, Lord Boyd, the head of this 
powerful family, in 1469, the estate was resumed by the Crown, but 

The Stewarts of Traquair. 67 

was shortly after conferred upon Dr. William Rogers, an eminent 
musician, and one of the favourites of the ill-starred James III. 
After holding the lands for upwards of nine years, Dr. Rogers sold 
them for an insignificant sum, in 1478, to James Stewart, Earl of 
Buchan, the second son of Sir James Stewart, called the Black 
Knight of Lorn, by Lady Jane Beaufort, widow of James I. The 
Earl conferred Traquair, in 1491, on his natural son, James Stewart, 
the founder of the Traquair family. He obtained letters of legiti- 
mation, and married the heiress of the Rutherfords, with whom he 
received the estates of Rutherford and Wells in Roxburghshire. 
Like the great body of the chivalry of Tweeddale, and the 
1 Flowers of the Forest,' he fell along with his sovereign on the 
fatal field of Flodden in 15 13. Four of the sons of this stalwart 
Borderer possessed the Traquair estates in succession, one of whom 
was knighted by Queen Mary when she created Darnley Duke of 
Albany, and was appointed captain of her guard, and, no doubt in 
that capacity, is said to have accompanied the Queen and her husband 
in their flight to Dunbar after the murder of Rizzio. He continued a 
steady friend of the ill-fated princess, and was one of the barons who 
entered into a bond of association to support her cause after her escape 
from Loch Leven in 1568. 

A second son of Sir James was one of the Gentlemen of the 
Bedchamber to James VI., and governor of Dumbarton Castle in 
1582. James, the youngest son, alone had issue, and his grandson, 
John, who succeeded to the family estates in 1606, became the 
first Earl of Traquair. This nobleman, who at a critical period of 
our history was one of the most powerful men in the kingdom, was 
educated by Thomas Sydserf, Bishop of Galloway, and, in order to 
complete his education according to the fashion of his day, he 
travelled for some time on the Continent. On his return home, he 
was elected Commissioner for Tweeddale in the Scottish Parliament, 
was knighted by King James, and was a member of the Privy 
Council. On the accession of Charles I., with whom he became a 
great favourite, he was raised to the peerage by the title of Lord Stuart 
of Traquair, and was appointed Treasurer- Depute, and an Extra- 
ordinary Lord of Session. During the visit of Charles to Scotland in 
1633 he elevated Lord Stuart to the dignity of Earl of Tmquair, 
with the subordinate titles of Lord Linton and Caberston. On the 
resignation of the Earl of Morton, Traquair was appointed Lord 
High Treasurer of Scotland, the highest office in the Government ; 

68 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

and during- the succeeding twenty-five years he took a prominent part 
in public affairs. Clarendon says, ' This Earl was, without doubt, 
not inferior to any in the Scottish nation in wisdom and dexterity.' 
Charles evidently regarded him as a person on whom he could 
thoroughly rely in carrying out his arbitrary schemes. The resump- 
tion of the grants of Church lands had excited great discontent 
among the fierce and turbulent nobility of Scotland, and a proposal 
to vest in the King authority to regulate the ecclesiastical dress of 
the clergy had met with considerable opposition. Charles, acting 
by the advice of Laud, resolved to strike a blow which would 
frighten the malcontents into silence, if not into acquiescence with 
his measures, and Lord Balmerino was brought to trial on a charge of 
leasing-making, or uttering a document tending to sow dissension 
between the King and his subjects. The only ground for this charge 
was that a humble and most respectful supplication to His Majesty 
against the proposed changes, which had not been presented, was 
in his Lordship's possession, and had been revised and corrected by 
him. On the advice of Archbishop Spottiswood, Lord Balmerino 
was arrested and tried. Every effort was made by the Court to 
secure the condemnation of the ill-used nobleman ; and the Earl of 
Traquair, on whose powers of persuasion great dependence was 
placed, was appointed chancellor or foreman of the jury. Although 
the list of jurors was mainly prepared by the Earl himself, it was 
only by his casting vote that a verdict of guilty was obtained. 
Sentence of death was pronounced upon Lord Balmerino ; but, the 
public indignation at this outrageous proceeding blazed out so 
fiercely, that the Government were afraid to carry the sentence into 
execution. Bishop Burnet says, that when the trial terminated, 
' many meetings were held, and it was resolved either to force the 
prison to set Balmerino at liberty, or, if that failed, to avenge his 
death both on the Court, and on the eight jurors. When the Earl 
of Traquair understood this, he went to Court and told the King 
that Lord Balmerino's life was in his hands, but the execution was 
in no ways advisable; so he procured his pardon.' 

The person who could act this part in such a trial was evidently a 
man after the King's own heart. Crafty, unscrupulous, and resolute, 
he was not likely to shrink from carrying through any scheme that 
the Court would devise. A number of holograph letters from 
Charles in the charter-chest of Traquair house, show the unbounded 
confidence which the King reposed in the Earl. On the 20th of 

The Stewarts of Traquair. 69 

November, 1637, he wrote from Whitehall, ' I have commended Rox- 
borough, not only to show you the manie secrets of my thoughts, 
but, to have your judgment as well as your industrie concur in my 
service.' In 1641, when compelled by the Parliament to exclude 
Traquair from his service, Charles wrote to him, ' Since by your 
owen desyre and my permission ye are retired from my court to 
satisfie the needlesse suspitions of your countrimen, I have thought 
fitt by these lynes to assure you that, I am so far from having 
chased you away as a delinquent, I esteem you to be as faith full a 
servant as anie I have, beliuing that the greatest cause of malice 
that ye are now vext with is for hauing served me as ye ought ; 
therefore I desyre you to be confident that I shall bothe fynde a fiitt 
tyme for you to wype away all thease slanders that are now against 
you ; and lykewais to recompence your by-past sufferings for my ser- 
vice.' Again, on 26th September, 1642, the King wrote, ' Traquair, 
the former experience I have of your zeal to my seruice and your 
dexteritie in it makes me address this bearer particularly to you, that 
though his business may seem equally addressed to many, yet you 
are he whom I cheefly (and indeed only) trust for the right managing 
of it. Your most assured constant friend, Charles R.' 

Traquair had gained the confidence of the King's chief ecclesias- 
tical adviser, as well as of Charles himself. Laud informed the 
Archbishop of St. Andrews that the Earl of Traquair ' hath assured 
the King in my presence that he will readily do all good offices for 
the Church that come within his power, according to all such com- 
mands as he shall receive either immediately from the King, or other- 
wise by direction of his Majesty from myself.' This ' mutual relation ' 
between the earl and the archbishop was to be ' kept very secret, and 
made known to no other person, either clergy or laity.' The Scottish 
Privy Council, consisting of eight prelates and about twenty noble- 
men, along with the legal officials, formed the acting ministry for 
the government of the country from 1634 to 1638. The Earl of 
Traquair was virtually the leading resident minister, and after his 
promotion to the office of Chief Treasurer in 1635, he 'guided our 
Scots affairs,' says Baillie, ' with the most absolute sovereignty that 
any subject among us this forty years did kythe.' His overbearing 
manner seems to have intimidated some, at least, of the other 
members of the Council. ' He carries all down that is in his way,' 
observed Baillie, ' with such a violent spate [flood], oft in needless 
passion.' He disliked the bishops, however, and notwithstanding his 

7<d The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

zeal for the King's service, both in ecclesiastical and civil affairs, he 
was personally opposed to the introduction of the new Service Book. 
He declared to the Earl of Rothes that he ' would rather lay down 
his white staff than practise it, and would write his mind freely to his 
Majesty.' He was, indeed, hostile not only to Laud's Liturgy, but 
to the entire scheme of governing Scotland by the policy of Lambeth. 
He agreed with Lord Napier in the opinion ' that Churchmen have 
a competency is agreeable to the law of God, and man, but to invest 
them into great estates, and principal offices of State is neither con- 
venient for the Church, for the King, nor for the State.' But, when 
Charles, with his characteristic obstinacy, insisted on the adoption 
of the new Service Book by the Scottish clergy, the timeserving 
Lord High Treasurer took a prominent part in carrying out the 
royal commands. Jenny Geddes' stool hurled at the head of the 
Dean of Edinburgh, when he was ' saying mass at her lugg' (ear), 
produced at once an explosion of the long pent-up wrath that had 
been accumulating throughout the country. Traquair was one of 
the principal objects of popular indignation, and one of the first to 
suffer from its outburst. He was mobbed by the rabble of Edin- 
burgh, and his official wand broken. He was himself hustled and 
thrown down, and having been with difficulty raised by those about 
him, ' without hat or cloak like a malefactor,' says a contemporary 
chronicler, ' he was carried by the crowd to the door of the Council 
House, where he found an asylum.' On receiving the tidings respect- 
ing this riot the King wrote to the Treasurer, ' We have seen a 
relation of that barbarous insurrection at Edinburgh, which you sent 
vnto our Secretarie, and doe give you hartie thanks for the paines 
you tooke to pacifie the same, and are highly offended that such an 
indignitie as you wreate of should have been offered to such an 
cheif officer of ours, and others of our Councell, and we do not 
doubt but you have taken notice of them that were authours or 
accessory therevnto, that vpon due tryall wee may take such 
order therewith, as the nature of such an exorbitant cryme doth 
require.'* At the King's own request the Earl was sent by the 
Privy Council to London, to inform his Majesty of the state of 
affairs and to advise with him as to the policy which should be 
adopted. He earnestly recommended that the new liturgy should 
be withdrawn, but that, to save the royal authority and dignity, 
a form of submission should be required from the Presbyterians. 

* Ninth Report of the Royal Commission on Historical MSS, 

The Stewarts of Traquair. 71 

The king was, however, profoundly ignorant of the real state of 
affairs, and of the precipice on which he stood. He was persuaded 
that to give up the Service Book and the Court of High Commission 
would degrade his royal authority. The Archbishop of St. Andrews 
wrote him that if he firmly condemned the present proceedings of 
the supplicants, and forbade them, under pain of treason, to follow 
the same course for the future, ' their combinations would melt like 
frost-work in the sun, or be driven like mist before the wind.' Similar 
advice was given by Laud and Strafford, and about the beginning of 
February, 1688, Traquair returned to Scotland with instructions to 
carry out this policy. 

The Scottish capital was still in disgrace on account of the late 
disturbances, and the Council and Sessions were held at Stirling. 
After remaining a short time in the metropolis, where he declined to 
give any information respecting the intentions of the King, or the 
instructions which he had received, the High Treasurer set out for 
the North. The object of his journey, however, and the nature of the 
King's answer, had by some means transpired, and, within an hour 
after the Earl had left Edinburgh, Lords Lindsay and Home set out 
for Stirling as fast as their horses could carry them. They reached 
the town before him, and were in readiness to counteract his pro- 
ceedings on the spot. At ten o'clock on the 20th of February, the 
heralds, accompanied by the Lord Treasurer and the Privy Seal, 
appeared at the market cross and read the royal proclamation. It 
expressed his Majesty's extreme displeasure with the conduct of 
those who had taken part in recent ' meetings and convocations,' 
declared them to be liable to high censure, prohibiting ' all such 
convocations and meetings in time coming, under pain of treason,' 
and commanding ' all noblemen, barons, ministers, and burghers, 
not actually indwellers in the burgh of Stirling,' to depart thence 
within six hours, and not return again, either to that town or to any 
other place where the Council may meet. No sooner was the 
proclamation made, with the usual formalities, than Lords Home and 
Lindsay stepped forward and caused the protest which they had pre- 
pared to be read at the same spot with all legal forms, and, leaving a 
copy of this document affixed by the side of the proclamation to the 
market cross of Stirling, they hastened back to Edinburgh. A repeti- 
tion of the same scene took place at Linlithgow, Edinburgh, and all 
the other towns where the proclamation was made. It was under- 
stood that the policy of Traquair was to break up as much as pos- 

j 2 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

sible the Presbyterian combination, embracing- all classes of society, 
and to induce the different orders of ' supplicants ' to renew their 
petitions separately. To counteract this device, it was resolved to 
renew the National Covenant, solemnly pledging the subscribers 
' constantly to adhere unto and defend the true religion, and forbear- 
ing the practice of all novations already introduced on the matter of 
the worship of God.' 

When ' the ten years' conflict ' between the King and the Cove- 
nanters began, in the memorable General Assembly which met 
at Glasgow in November, 1638, the Earl of Traquair was one of 
the assessors to the Royal Commissioner, the Marquis of Hamilton. 
After the Covenanters had, by an appeal to arms, compelled the 
King to yield to their demands in the Pacification of Berwick, 
Traquair was appointed Lord High Commissioner to the General 
Assembly which met at Edinburgh, 12th August, 1639. He had 
a very difficult, and, indeed, dangerous task to perform. While 
apparently willing to yield to the popular current, the King was 
obstinately bent on carrying out his own schemes. His representa- 
tive was therefore instructed to appear to grant everything which 
the people desired, but with such artful qualifications and reserva- 
tions, as in reality to concede nothing. He was ' to give way for the 
present to that which will be prejudicial to the Church, and to the 
Government, but to do so in such a way as would reserve a plea for 
withdrawing these concessions when the proper time should come.' 
A hint was also given to the clergy that they should deliver secretly 
to the Commissioner a ' protestation and remonstrance against this 
Assembly and Parliament,' which might afterwards serve as a pre- 
text for cancelling their proceedings. Traquair seems to have 
played his difficult part with great dexterity. On the one hand he 
gave assent in his Majesty's name to the Acts of the Glasgow 
Assembly, the abolition of Episcopacy, the rescinding of the five 
Articles of Perth, and the ratification of the Covenant, to which he 
appended his signature, both as Commissioner and as an individual. 
On the other hand he made at the outset a most plausible pretext, 
reserving his Majesty's right for redress of anything that might be 
done prejudicial to his service. 

The day after the rising of the Assembly, the Commissioner 
opened Parliament in great state, the ' riding ' of the members — a 
procession on horseback from Holyrood to the Parliament Close — 
and all the other forms and honours due to royalty, being observed with 

The Stewarts of Traquair. 73 

more than customary splendour. The Estates, which had hitherto 
met in the dingy recesses of the Tolbooth, now for the first time 
assembled in the great new hall of the Parliament House, with its 
fine roof made of oaken beams, which has ever since been one of 
the most interesting structures in the metropolis. The meeting, 
however, was short and stormy, and as Traquair, with all his 
dexterity and eloquence, was unable to control their proceedings, 
he prorogued the Parliament in order that he might receive fresh 
instructions from the King, and did not again appear in person at 
their meetings. The Covenanters, though unable to penetrate the 
thick veil of duplicity and deceit in which the King and his Com- 
missioner had enveloped their policy, were quite aware of the 
insincerity and hostility both of Charles and his most-trusted 
Councillor. Traquair was regarded as by no means the worst of the 
1 Malignants,' but his energy and ability rendered him especially 
formidable. Hence, when their day of triumph arrived in 1641, 
they compelled the King to give his assent to the exclusion of the 
Earl from the benefit of the ' Act of Oblivion,' as an incendiary 
betwixt England and Scotland, and betwixt the King and his 
subjects. In the previous session of Parliament, an Act had been 
passed ' anent leising- makers of quhatsomever qualitie, office, 
place, or dignity,' which declares that ' all bad counsillars quha, 
instead of giving his Majestie trew and effauld counsaill, has given 
or will give informatone and counsaill to the evident prejudice and 
mine of the liberties of this kirk and kingdom, suld be exemplarlie 
judged and censured.' Sir James Balfour asserts this Act ' was 
purposelie made to catche Traquair.' He was accordingly impeached 
in Parliament as an incendiary, and found guilty. Charles interfered 
to save him from capital punishment, but he was deprived of his 
office as Treasurer, and obliged to find caution to conduct himself 
in such a manner as would best conduce to the peace of the country, 
under penalty of the forfeiture of the pardon he had received from 
his Majesty. The dominant party in Parliament were not inclined 
to use their power with moderation or mercy, and they compelled 
the King to promise that he would not employ Traquair or any of 
the other ' incendiaries ' in any public office, without consent of the 
Estates, or even allow them access to his person, lest they should 
give him evil counsel. 

The Earl of Traquair was one of the Scottish nobles who in 
1643 subscribed a remonstrance expressing strong disapproval of 

74 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

the combination of the Scottish Estates and the English Parliament 
against the King, and was in consequence, on the ground that 
he had violated the conditions on which he had been set at liberty, 
declared an enemy to religion, and to the peace of the kingdom. 
His movable goods were confiscated and his estates sequestrated. 
He averted the entire forfeiture of his property, and obtained a 
pardon, by the payment of 40,000 marks, along with the conditions 
that he should subscribe the Covenant, and confine himself within 
the counties of Roxburgh, Selkirk, and Peebles, and promise that 
he would not repair to the King's presence. He is alleged to have 
sent his son, Lord Linton, with a troop of horse, to join Montrose 
the day before the battle of Philiphaugh (September 13th, 1645), 
but to have withdrawn them during the night. It is also reported 
that when the great Marquis, in his flight from the battle-field, 
accompanied by a few followers, reached Traquair House, the Earl 
and his son refused to receive them — an incident which, if true, tends 
to confirm the opinion generally entertained of this shifty noble, that 
he was an unprincipled trimmer on whom neither party could rely. 

In 1 647, when Charles had taken refuge in the Scottish camp, 
Traquair was restored, and appointed a member of the Committee 
of Estates, probably in consequence of a letter which the King 
wrote in his behalf to the Earl of Lanark, the Scottish Secretary 
of State. ' I must not be negligent,' he said, ' on Traquair's behalf 
as not to name his business to you for admitting him to his place 
in Parliament, of which I will say no more; but you know his suffer- 
ings for me, and this is particularly recommended to you by your 
most assured real constant friend, Charles R.' In 1648, Traquair 
raised a troop of horse for the ' Engagement ' to attempt the 
rescue of the King from the victorious Parliament, and with his son, 
Lord Linton, was taken prisoner at the battle of Preston. He was 
confined for four years in Warwick Castle, and his estates were a 
second time sequestrated. He was ultimately set at liberty by 
Cromwell, and returned to Scotland, where he spent the remainder 
of his days in great poverty and obscurity. His son, Lord Linton, 
though he had taken part in his father's efforts on behalf of King- 
Charles, had by some means — probably by joining the extreme 
Presbyterian party — succeeded in rescuing a portion of the family 
property, and was able to reside at Traquair; but much to his discredit, 
he refused to give assistance to his aged and impoverished father. 
During the last two years of his life, the old Earl was reduced to such 

The Stewarts of Traquair. 75 

straits as to be dependent on charity for the necessaries of life. It 
is stated by the author of ' A Journey through Scotland, in Familiar 
Letters,' that this once great noble and state officer ' would take an 
alms though not publicly ask for it. There are some, still alive at 
Peebles that have seen him dine on a salt herring and an onion.' 

In the curious account of the Frasers, by James Fraser of Kirkhill, 
recently brought to light, there is the following passage respecting 
the first Earl. ' He was a true emblem of the vanity of the world — 
a very meteor. I saw him begging in the streets of Edinburgh. 
He was in an antique garb, and a broad old hat, short cloak, and 
pannier breeches ; and I contributed in my quarters in the Canon- 
gate towards his relief. We gave him a noble, he standing with 
his hat off. The Master of Lovat, Culbockie, Glenmorrison, and 
myself were there, and he received the piece of money from my 
hand as humbly and thankfully as the poorest supplicant. It is said 
that at a time he had not to pay for cobbling his boots, and died in 
a poor cobbler's house.'* He died in 1659, 'sitting in his chair 
at his own house,' says Nicol, ' without any preceding sickness,' 
and ' but little lamented.' His death, it is said, was hastened, if 
not caused, by the want of the necessaries of life. This melancholy 
example of the mutability of fortune, was repeatedly employed 
by the Treasurer's contemporaries to 'point a moral and adorn a 
tale.' The annotator on Scott of Scotstarvit's ' Staggering State 
of Scots Statesmen,' says that at his burial this unfortunate noble- 
man ' had no mortcloth [pall] but a black apron, nor towels, but 
leashes belonging to some gentlemen that were present ; and the 
grave being two feet shorter than his body, the assistants behoved 
to stay till the same was enlarged and he buried.' 

If we may believe a story handed down by tradition, related by Sir 
Walter Scott, and embodied in a ballad published in his ' Border 
Minstrelsy,' the Earl of Traquair must have been as unscrupulous in 
the means he employed to promote his own private interests, as in 
the steps which he took to carry out the policy of the Court. When 
he was at the height of his power, he had a lawsuit of great import- 
ance, which was to be decided in the Court of Session, and there was 

* The Earl of Traquair was not the only ' emblem of the vanity of the world ' to be 
seen during the Great Civil War. The head of the ancient family of the Mowbrays of 
Barnbougle was reduced to a similar state of destitution. In the sessions record of a 
parish in Strathmore, under the date of February 17, 1650, there is the following 
entry, ' Gave this day to Sir Robert Moubray, sometime laird of Barnbougle, now 
become through indigence ane poor supplicant, twenty-four shillings ' [Scots]. 

76 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

every reason to believe that the judgment would turn upon the 
casting-vote of the President, Sir Alexander Gibson, titular Lord 
Durie, whose opinion was understood to be adverse to Traquair's 
interest. Durie was not only an able lawyer but an upright judge 
— a character not very common in Scotland in those days, when 
the maxim, 'Show me the man and I'll show you the law' was 
of very general application. As the President was proof both 
against bribes and intimidation, it was necessary for the success of 
the Lord Treasurer in his lawsuit that he should, in one way or 
other, be disposed of. There was a stalwart Borderer, named William 
Armstrong, called, for the sake of distinction, ' Christie's Will,* a 
lineal descendant of the famous Johnnie Armstrong of Gilnockie, 
who, for some marauding exploits, had been imprisoned in the Tol- 
booth of Jedburgh, and was indebted to Traquair for his liberty, if 
not for his life. To this daring moss-trooper the Earl applied for 
help in this extremity, and he, without hesitation, undertook to kid- 
nap the President, and keep him out of the way till the cause should 
be decided. On coming to Edinburgh, he discovered that the judge 
was in the habit of taking the air on horseback on Leith sands 
without an attendant. Watching his opportunity one day, when 
the judge was taking his usual airing, Armstrong accosted him, 
and contrived, by his amusing conversation, to decoy the President 
to an unfrequented and furzy common, called the Figgit Whins, 
where he suddenly pulled him from his horse, blindfolded him, 
and muffled him in a large cloak. In this condition the luckless 
judge was trussed yp behind Christie's Will, and carried across the 
country by unfrequented by-paths, and deposited in an old castle in 
Annandale, not far from Moffat, called the Tower of Graham. Mean- 
while, his horse having been found wandering on the sands, it was 
concluded that its rider had been thrown into the sea and drowned. 
His friends went into mourning, and a successor was appointed to 
his office by the Lord Treasurer. The President spent three dreary 
months in the dungeon of the Border fortalice, receiving his food 
through an aperture in the wall, seeing no one, and never hearing the 
sound of a human voice, save when a shepherd called upon his dog 
Bawty, or a female inmate of the tower on her cat Madge. In the 
words of the ballad — ■ 

' For nineteen days and nineteen nights 
Of sun, or moon, or midnight stars, 
Auld Durie never saw a blink, 

The lodging was sae dark and dour. 

The Stewarts of Traquair. jj 

He thought the warlocks o' the rosy cross 

Had fang'd him in their nets sae fast, 
Or that the gipsies' glamoured gang 

Had lair'd his learning at the last. 

" Hey ! Bawty lad ! far yond ! far yond ! " * 
These were the morning sounds heard he ; 

And een "alack !" Auld Durie cried, 

" The Deil is hounding his tykes on me 1 " 

And whiles a voice on Baudrons cried, 
With sound uncouth, and sharp, and hie ; 

" I have tar-barrell'd mony a witch, 

And now I think they'll clear scores wi' me!'" 

At length the lawsuit was decided in favour of Lord Traquair, 
and Will was directed to set the President at liberty. In the words 
of the ballad — 

' Traquair has written a privie letter, 

And he has sealed it wi' his seal — 
"Ye may let the auld brockf out of the poke, 

My land's my ain, and a's gane week" ' 

Accordingly Will entered the vault at dead of night, muffled the 
President once more in his cloak, without speaking a single word, 
placed him on horseback as before, and, conveying him to Leith 
sands, set down the astonished judge on the very spot where he 
had taken him up. He, of course, claimed and obtained his office 
and honours, probably not much to the satisfaction of his successor. 
The common belief at the time, in which the President shared, was 
that he had been spirited away by witchcraft ; and it was not until 
after the lapse of a good many years that the truth was brought to 

light. % 

It appears from Pitcairn's Criminal Trials that George Meldrum, 
the younger, of Dumbreck, with the assistance of three Border 

% The signal made by a shepherd to his dog when he is to drive away some sheep at 
a distance. 

f Badger. 

| The truth of this strange incident does not rest wholly on tradition, for Forbes, in 
his Journal of the Session, published in 17 14, says : ' 'Tis commonly reported that some 
party in a considerable action before the session finding that Lord Ducie could not be 
persuaded to think his plea good, fell upon a stratagem to prevent the influence and 
weight which his lordship might have to his prejudice by causing some strong men to 
kidnap him in the Links of Leith, at his diversion on a Saturday afternoon, and transport 
him to some blind and obscure room in the country, where he was detained captive, 
without the benefit of daylight, a matter of three months (though otherwise civilly and 
well entertained), during which time his lady and children went in mourning for him as 
dead. But after the cause aforesaid was decided, the Lord Ducie was carried back by 
incognitos, and dropt in the same place where he had been taken up.' — Minstrelsy of the 
Scottish Border, iv. pp. 94. 95. 

78 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

thieves, kidnapped Gibson of Durie, and kept him prisoner for some 
time in a Border tower. But this may have been done at the 
instigation of Traquair, or the President may have been carried off 
a second time. It is not probable that the tradition long current on 
the Borders should have been wholly groundless. 

This was not the only occasion on which the Lord Treasurer was 
indebted to Armstrong for important assistance. During the Great 
Civil War, it was of vital consequence to the royal service that a 
certain packet of papers should be transmitted to the King from his 
friends in Scotland. But the task was both difficult and dangerous, 
for the Parliamentary leaders kept strict watch on the Borders, to 
prevent any communication between Charles and the Scottish Royal- 
ists. In this strait, Traquair had once more recourse to ' Christie's 
Will,' who readily undertook the commission, and succeeded in con- 
veying the packet safely to the King. On his return, however, with 
his Majesty's answer, he was waylaid at Carlisle, where, unconscious 
of danger, he halted for some time to refresh his horse. On resum- 
ing his journey, as soon as he began to pass the long and narrow 
bridge which crossed the Eden at that place, both ends of the pass 
were immediately occupied by a detachment of Parliamentary sol- 
diers, who were lying in wait for him. The daring Borderer, how- 
ever, without a moment's hesitation, spurred his horse over the 
parapet, and plunged into the river, which was in high flood. After 
a desperate struggle, he effected a landing at a steep bank called 
the Stanners, and set off at full speed towards the Scottish Borders, 
pursued by the troopers, who had for a time, stood motionless in 
astonishment at his temerity. He was well mounted, however, and 
having got the start, he kept ahead of his pursuers, menacing with 
his pistols any of them who seemed likely to gain on him. They 
followed him as far as the river Esk, that divides the two king- 
doms, which he swam without hesitation, though it flowed ' from 
bank to brae.' On reaching Scottish ground, the dauntless moss- 
trooper turned on the northern bank, and, in the true spirit of a 
Border raider, invited his pursuers to cross the river, and drink with 
him. After this taunt he proceeded on his journey to the Scottish 
capital, and faithfully placed the royal letters in the hands of 

The Earl was succeeded in his titles, and the remnant of his 
estates, by his only son Lord Linton, of whose ' unnatural conduct to 
his parents ' loud complaints have been made. Though an elder in the 

The Stewarts of Traquair. 79 

kirk, he was accused of drinking and swearing- ; and while professing 
to be an adherent of the extreme Presbyterian party, he married in 
succession two ladies who were Roman Catholics. The records of 
the Kirk Session of Inverleithen mention, in 1647, tnat ' f° r tne ^ore 
speedy carrying out of their acts, the Session resolve to elect Lord 
Linton an elder, which was accordingly done, his lordship promising 
before the whole congregation to be faithful in the function.' In 
April, 1648, he was appointed to attend the ensuing Synod, as ruling 
elder from the session. Lord Linton's conduct, however, speedily 
subjected him both to civil and ecclesiastical penalties. In 1649 he- 
married Lady Henrietta Gordon, a daughter of George, second 
Marquis of Huntly, the leader of the Roman Catholic party in Scot- 
land, who had shortly before been beheaded at the cross of Edinburgh. 
Lady Henrietta was the widow of George, Lord Seton, eldest son of 
the second Earl of Winton, also a leader among the Royalists. The 
marriage of an elder of the Presbyterian Church to an excommuni- 
cated Papist must have excited the strongest feelings of disapproval 
throughout the whole body, and was regarded as a heinous offence. 
The marriage ceremony was performed, contrary to law, privately 
and without the proclamation of banns, by the minister of Dawick, 
who was deposed and excommunicated for this violation of the law 
both of Church and State. Lord Linton himself was fined ,£5,000 
Scots, and was also excommunicated and imprisoned. These severe 
penalties, however, did not deter him from repeating the offence. 
His wife lived only a year after her marriage, and in 1654 Lord 
Linton took for his second wife Lady Anne Seton, half-sister of 
the brother of Lady Henrietta — a union forbidden by the canon 
law which regulates the marriages of the members of the Roman 
Catholic Church, to which Lady Anne belonged. Lord Linton still 
kept up his connection with the Presbyterian Church, but his irregular 
conduct subjected him to the censures of the Presbytery of Peebles, 
which at that time had no respect of persons. In its records, under 
the date of August 9, 1657, there is the following entry, ' The Lord 
Lyntoun (after many citations) called, compeared, and being charged 
by the Moderator with these several miscarriages, viz., absenting 
himself from the church, drinking, swearing, &c., he took with them 
[admitted them], craved God's mercie and prayed for grace to eschew 
them in time coming. Whereupon, his lordship being removed, the 
Presbytery resolved that the Moderator should give him a grave 
rebuke, and exhort him to seek God, and to forbear those evills in 
time coming, which was accordingly done.' 

80 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

An entry in the Justice of Peace Records of the county affords 
another glimpse of the position of this inconsistent and not over 
reputable noble. Under the date of January 30th, 1658, it is said, 
* This day the commander of the troops lying in the shires of Peebles 
and Selkirk, desired information from the justices of all Papists living 
within the shire of Peebles, that he might prescribe ane order for 
their personal deportment. The bench declared they knew of no 
Papists in the shire except those who lived in Lord Linton's family, 
Lord Linton himself declared that his lady and three women were 
the only Papists in his house.' 

The second Earl of Traquair died in April, 1666, in his forty- fourth 
year, having had issue only by his second wife, four sons and three 
daughters. The Privy Council, apprehensive that the Dowager 
Lady Traquair would bring up her elder surviving son, William, in 
the Roman Catholic faith, enjoined her, in 1672, when the youthful 
Earl had reached his fifteenth year, to attend at Holyrood House, 
and bring her son with her. She thought fit to disobey this sum- 
mons, and a warrant was immediately issued to messengers-at-arms 
to bring the Countess, along with her son, before the Council. Both 
were produced within a week. In the Privy Council Records, under 
date February 8, the disposal of the case is thus narrated, ' Com- 
peared the Countess of Traquair, with her son the Earl, who is 
ordered to be consigned to the care of the Professor of Divinity in 
the University of Glasgow, to be educated in the Reformed religion, 
at sight of the Archbishop of Glasgow. No Popish servants to be 
allowed to attend him.' The order was, however, by some means 
evaded, and was repeated nearly two years later, December, 1673. 
Once more ' at Holyrood House, the Countess of Traquair com- 
peared to exhibit her son the Earl, in order to be educated in the 
Reformed religion. The Council resolve he shall be sent to a good 
school, with a pedagogue and servants, as the Archbishop of Glasgow 
should name, the Earl of Galloway to defray charges. A letter to 
be sent to the Archbishop, and that the lady in the meantime keep 
the Earl, her son, for ten or twelve days.' 

It does not appear whether these measures were effectual in 
retaining the young Earl in the Presbyterian fold, or whether his 
mother succeeded in enticing him to enter the Romish Church. He 
died unmarried, and was succeeded by Charles, the third son of the 
second Earl — the second son, George, having died unmarried. The 
new Earl had yielded to his mother's influence, and had openly 

The Stewarts of Traquair. 8 1 

embraced the Roman Catholic faith. He suffered considerable 
annoyance on account of his religious opinions at the time of the 
Revolution, as appears from a statement of the celebrated Peter 
Walker, the Packman, in his 'Vindication of Mr. Richard Cameron,' 
published in the ' Biographia Presbyteriana.' ' In the end of the year 
1688, at the happy Revolution, when the Duke of York [James VII.] 
fled, and the crown w r as vacant, in which time we had no king, nor 
judicatories in the kingdom, the United Societies, in their general 
correspondence, considering the surprising, unexpected, merciful step 
of the Lord's dispensation, thought it someway belonged to us in the 
interregnum to go to all Popish houses, and destroy their monuments 
of idolatry, with their priests' robes, and to apprehend and put to 
prison themselves : which was done at the cross of Dumfries, and 
Peebles, and other places. That honourable and worthy gentleman, 
Donald Ker of Kersland,* having a considerable number of us with 
him, went to the house of Traquair, in frost and snow, and found a 
great deal of Romish wares there, but wanted the cradle, Mary and 
the Babe, and the priest. He sent James Arcknyes and some with him 
to the house of Mr. Thomas Lewis, who had the name of a Presbyterian 
minister. Kersland ordered them to search his house narrowly and 
behave themselves discreetly, which they did. Mr. Lewis and his wife 
mocked them, without offering them either meat or drink, though they 
had much need of it. At last they found two trunks locked, which they 
desired to have opened. Mr. Lewis then left them. They broke up the 
coffers, wherein they found a golden cradle with Mary and the Babe 
in her bosom; in the other trunk the priest's robes (the Earl and the 
priest were fled), which they brought all to the cross of Peebles, with 
a great deal of Popish books, and many other things of great value, 
all Romish wares, and burnt them there. At the same time we 
concluded to go to all the prelatical and intruding curates, and to give 
them warning to remove, with all that belonged to them.' 

It is evident that Peter Walker and his associates had not been 
taught toleration by their own sufferings. 

Their adoption of the Roman Catholic faith excluded the Traquair 
family both from Parliament, and from public office. Thus shut 
out from intimate association with the great body of the Scottish 
nobles and gentry, the successive Earls, remarkable for nothing 
but their longevity, spent their lives in obscurity on the remnant 

* Kcr, though possessing the confidence of the Covenanters, was in reality 
employed by the Government as a spy and informer. 

VOL. 11. G 

32 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

of their ancestral estate, which now yields a rental of only ,£4,846 
a year. 

Charles, seventh Earl of Traquair, made application in 1779 fcr 
a concession of the exclusive working of certain mines in Spain, in 
which he believed there were vast deposits of coal. The Earl seems 
also to have entertained the wish that a grandeeship and a suitable 
establishment in Spain should be conferred upon him, because a 
cadet of his family had formerly gone to that country, and allied 
himself to one of the noble houses. He applied to Henry Stewart, 
Cardinal York, the last of the royal Stewarts, for his influence in 
the matter, who replied to his letter in kind and courteous terms. 
♦ You may be assured,' he said, < I have full cognizance of the 
merits and prerogatives of your family, but I cannot but remark 
that it is the first time in all my lifetime I have ever seen your 
signature, or that of anyone belonging to you. That, however, has 
not hindered me from writing a very strong letter to the Duque of 
Alcudia in your favour, and I have also taken other means for to 
facilitate the good success of your petition. I heartily wish my 
endeavours may have their effect in reguard of you and your son, 
and the meanwhile be assured of my sincere esteem and kind friend- 
ship ' It appears that the application was not successful, for a 
second equally kind letter from the Cardinal, in 1795, expresses his 
hope that the affair will have a successful termination. Ihe con- 
cession, however, was not granted.* 

On the death of the eighth Earl in 186 1, in his eighty-first year, the 
titles of the family became extinct. His sister, Lady Louisa Stuart, 
however, continued to possess the family estates, and to reside in the 
antique, deserted-looking mansion of her fathers, probably the oldest 
inhabited house in Scotland, until December, 1875, when she passed 
away, in the hundredth vear of her age. It does not appear, however, 
that the venerable lady was depressed, or saddened either by the 
decayed fortunes of her family, or by the reflection that she was the 
last of her race. She continued to the end cheerful and active, kind 
and charitable, fond of dress and of news, interested in all the events 
passing around her, and, in spite of her great age, was a frequent 
traveller. Her statelv manners well became her position and descent, 
and, though she went to the grave like a shock of corn fully ripe, her 
* Ninth Report of Historical MSS. Commission, part ii. p. 243. 

The Stewarts of Traquair. 83 

death caused sadness and regret throughout Tweeddale and the 
Forest. At her death the Traquair mansion and estates passed to 
the Hon. William Constable Maxwell, a younger son of Lord Hemes, 
whose ancestor, the sixth Earl of Nithsdale, married his cousin, the 
fourth daughter of the fourth Earl of Traquair. 

The world on which Lady Louisa looked, not only in youth and 
middle age, but even in her advanced years, differed so widely from 
that on which she closed her eyes, that it might almost seem as if 
several centuries had intervened between the beginning and the end 
of her career. When she was born the Bourbons ruled, apparently 
with a firm hand, in France, Spain, and Naples ; the Hapsburgs were 
Emperors of Germany ; Italy was a congeries of petty, powerless 
principalities ; Turkey was a formidable power ; Poland was still a 
kingdom, and Russia a barbarous and almost unknown region. 
America was then only a dependency of Great Britain, though the 
conflict had begun which was to terminate, before Lady Louisa left 
the nursery, in the total separation of the American colonies from the 
mother country. The East India Company was then little more than 
an association of traders, and our Indian Empire was merely in its 
infancy. She was ten years of age when the famous trial of Warren 
Hastings, before the House of Lords, commenced. She was a young 
lady of seventeen when the first French Revolution broke out, and 
the whole civilised world stood aghast at the frightful massacres 
which ensued, at the execution of Louis XVI. and his queen, and 
the cruelties inflicted on the Royalists, with whom both the political 
and religious principles of the Traquair family must have made them 
deeply sympathise. She witnessed the astonishing results of the 
French revolutionary wars, the overthrow of ancient dynasties, and 
the adjustment and re-adjustment over and over again of the map 
of Europe ; the Continent prostrate at the feet of Bonaparte ; and 
the succession of brilliant naval victories of Rodney, Howe, Jervis, 
and Nelson, from Cape St. Vincent to Trafalgar, which made Britain 
the undisputed mistress of the seas. She had reached middle life 
when Napoleon invaded Russia and lost both his splendid army and 
his throne amid its snows, and when Wellington, having baffled the 
best French generals, drove their armies in confusion out of the 
Peninsula, and planted the British standard on the soil of France. 
She was about forty years of age when the crowning victory of 
Waterloo restored peace to Europe and consigned the common 
enemy to his life-long prison on St. Helena. It is striking that one 

84 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

who witnessed in mature years the rise, progress, and overthrow, of 
the first French Empire, should have lived to see, half a century 
later, the establishment and destruction of the Second Empire, 
and ' haughty Gaul,' which had so often invaded, plundered, and 
oppressed other nations, compelled to drain to the dregs the cup of 
humiliation and retribution. 

The changes which Lady Louisa witnessed in her own country — 
the result of advancing intelligence and scientific discoveries — are 
no less remarkable and much more satisfactory. The destruction 
of the old close system of parliamentary representation, and the 
substitution in its room of a system at once popular, equitable, and 
efficient ; the abolition of the Corn Laws, and of the restrictions on 
trade and commerce, once regarded as the palladium of Britain's 
prosperity, took place, while gas, steamships, railroads, telegraphs, 
and the penny post were all invented, or brought into general use 
after she was far advanced in life. Nowhere had more extensive 
and gratifying changes taken place during Lady Louisa's lifetime 
than in her own beautiful and beloved Tweedside. The green pas- 
toral hills and ' Tweed's fair river, broad and deep,' remained as they 
were, but all else was altered. Not only at the time of her birth, but 
after the first decade of the present century had closed, agriculture in 
Tweeddale, and indeed throughout Scotland, was at a very low ebb. 
In 1763 there were no enclosures, and almost no trees. The arable 
lands were cut up into small holdings, and the fields divided into 
patches by numerous ditches and swamps. Draining had never 
been tried ; artificial manures had never been thought of; green 
crops and stall-feeding were unknown. Corn was raised only on the 
drier spots, and ploughing was effected by means of a huge, cum- 
brous machine, drawn by teams of from four to six horses, or twice 
as many oxen, driven by four or five men. The harness consisted 
mainly of plaited straw and ropes. Men frequently dragged the 
wooden harrows by means of ropes thrown over their shoulders. The 
crops were always scanty, and it was no uncommon occurrence for 
the grain to be cut down, and gathered in, amid frost and snow. 
Thrashing-mills were unknown at that time in Tweedside. There 
were no wheeled carts or carriages, or public conveyances of any 
kind, and, indeed, no proper roads. When Lady Louisa travelled 
in those days, it must have been always on horseback, and along 
rough bridle-paths. 

The condition of the people was on a par with the state of 

The Steivarts of Traquair. 85 

their lands. Farmhouses and cottages alike were mere hovels ; 
the latter built of turf, low in the roof, dirty, damp, and unhealthy. 
The people were sober, industrious, and thrifty, but very poor ; 
they seldom tasted butcher's meat, but lived mostly on meal, milk, 
and vegetables. The rents were very low, and only a small portion 
was paid in money. In the whole county of Peebles there was, at 
the close of the last century, only eight proprietors whose rentals 
exceeded ^1,000 a year, ^"4,000 being the maximum. There are 
now twenty-six. The contrast between the condition of the country 
and its inhabitants in Lady Louisa's youthful days, and the scene of 
beauty and fertility which Tweedside now presents, — its rich arable 
fields and green pastures, the stately mansions of the gentry em- 
bosomed in fine woods, and the comfortable farmhouses and cottages, 
— may serve to show what agricultural skill and enterprise have done, 
in one lifetime, to transform a wilderness into a garden of Eden. 
Other changes have no doubt taken place during her career which 
must have been less pleasing to the far-descended, aristocratic old 
lady. At the close of last century there was no fewer than six great 
nobles who had estates in Tweeddale, only one of whom now remains, 
the proprietor of an estate of ,£2,000 a year. 


HE founder of the Drummond family was long believed to 
have been 'a Hungarian gentleman,' named Maurice, who 
was said by Lord Strathallan, in his history of the family, 
to have piloted the vessel in which Edgar Atheling and 
his two sisters embarked for Hungary in 1066. They were driven, 
however, by a storm to land upon the north side of the Firth of 
Forth, near Oueensferry, and took refuge at the Court of Malcolm 
Canmore, which was then held at Dunfermline. After the marriage 
of the Scottish king to the Princess Margaret, the Hungarian, as a 
reward for his skilful management of the vessel in the dangerous 
sea voyage, was rewarded by Malcolm with lands, offices, and a 
coat-of-arms, and called Drummond ; ' and so it seems,' says Lord 
Strathallan, ' this Hungarian gentleman got his name, either from 
the office as being captaine, director, or admiral to Prince Edgar 
and his company — for Dromont or Dromend in divers nations was 
the name of a ship of a swift course, and the captaine thereof was 
called Droment or Dromerer — or otherwise the occasion of the 
name was from the tempest they endured at sea ; ' for Drummond, 
his lordship thinks, might be made up of the Greek word for water, 
and meant a hill, « signifying high hills of waters ; or Drummond, 
from drum, which in our ancient language is a height.' The myth 
was enlarged with additional and minute particulars by succeeding 
historians of the family. Mr. Malcolm exalts the Hungarian 
gentleman to the position of a royal prince of Hungary, and affirms 
that he was the son of George, a younger son of Andrew, King ot 
Hungary. The late Mr. Henry Drummond, the banker, and M. P. 
for West Surrey, in his splendid work, entitled, ' Noble British 
Families,' adopts and improves upon the statements of the previous 
writers, and gives the Hungarian prince a royal pedigree in Hun- 

The Drummonds. 87 

gary for many generations anterior to his coming to Scotland in 
1066. All three agree in stating that the first lands given to that 
Hungarian by Malcolm Canmore lay in Dumbartonshire, and 
included the parish of Drummond in Lennox. 

Mr. Fraser, in his elaborate and most interesting work, entitled, 
' The Red Book of Menteith,' has proved, by conclusive evidence, 
that these statements respecting the origin of the Drummond family 
are purely apocryphal. The word Drummond, Drymen, or Drum- 
min, is used as a local name in several co;> 'ties of Scotland, and is 
derived from the Celtic word druim, a ridge or knoll. The first 
person who can be proved to have borne the name was one Malcolm 
of Drummond, who, along with his brother, named Gilbert, wit- 
nessed the charters of Maldouen, third Earl of Lennox, from 1225 
to 1270. But this Malcolm was simply a chamberlain to the Earl. 
Mr. Drummond states that he was made hereditary thane or 
seneschal of Lennox, which is quite unsupported by evidence ; and 
he asserts that Malcolm's estates reached from the shores of the 
Gareloch, in Argyllshire, across the counties of Dumbarton and 
Stirling into Perthshire, which Mr. Fraser has shown to be an 
entire mistake. Instead of the Barony of Drymen, or Drummond, 
having been granted to a Prince Maurice by Malcolm Canmore in 
1070, the lands belonged to the Crown previous to the year 1489, 
when for the first time they were let on lease to John, first Lord 
Drummond, and afterwards granted to him as feu-farm. The 
earliest charter to the family of any lands having a similar name was 
granted in 1362, by Robert Stewart of Scotland, Earl of Strathern, 
to Maurice of Drummond, of the dominical lands, or mains of 
Drommand and Tulychravin, in the earldom of Strathern. It is 
doubtful if he ever entered into possession of these lands ; but it is 
clear that, whether he did so or not, they did not belong to the 
Drummond family previous to the grant of 1362, but were part of 
the estates of the Earl of Strathern, and that they are wholly distinct 
from the lands and lordship of Drummond afterwards acquired bv 
John Drummond, who sat in Parliament 6th May, 1471, under 
the designation of Dominus de Stobhall, and, sixteen years later, 
was created a peer of Parliament by James III. 

James IV., after his accession to the throne, granted a lease for 
five years, on 6th June, 1489, in favour of John, Lord Drummond, of 
the Crown lands of Drummond, in the shire of Stirling. On the 
expiry of the lease, the King made a perpetual grant of the lands 

88 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

to him by a charter under the Great Seal, dated 31st January, 1495, 
bearing that the grant was made for the good and faithful services 
rendered by Lord Drummond, and for the love and favour which 
the King had for him. After the death of James IV., Lord Drum- 
mond exerted all his influence to promote the marriage between his 
orandson, the Earl of Angus, and the widowed Queen Margaret. 
' This marriage begot such jealousy,' says Lord Strathallan, ' in the 
rulers of the State, that the Earl of Angus was cited to appear 
before the Council, and Sir William Cummin of Inneralochy, 
Knight, Lyon King-at-Armes, appeared to deliver the charge ; in 
doing whereof he seemed to the Lord Drummond to have ap- 
proached the Earl with more boldness than discretion, for which he 
^ave the Lyon a box on the ear; whereof he complained to John, 
Duke of Albany, then newly made Governor to King James V. ; and 
the Governor, to give ane example of his justice at his first entry to 
his new office, caused imprison the Lord Drummond's person in the 
Castle of Blackness, and forfault his estate to the Crown for his 
rashness. Bot the Duke, considering, after information, what a 
fyne man the lord was, and how strongly allyed with most of the 
great families of the nation, was well pleased that the Queen- 
mother and Three Estates of Parliament should interceed for him, 
as he was soone restored to his libertie and fortune.' It would 
have been well for Lord Drummond if he had remembered, on this 
occasion, the motto of his family/ Gang warily,' and his own maxim, 
in his paper of ' Constituted Advice,' ' In all our doings discretion is 
to be observed, otherwise nothing can be done aright.' 

On tho 5th of January, 1535, King James V. entered into an 
obligation to infeft David, second Lord Drummond, in all the lands 
which had belonged to his great-grandfather, John, the first lord, 
and which were in the King's hands by reason of escheat and 
forfeiture, through the accusation brought against John, Lord 
Drummond, for the treasonable and violent putting of hands on the 
King's officer then called Lyon King-of-Arms. Certain specified 
lands, however, were excepted — viz., Innerpeffrey, Foirdow, Aucter- 
arder, Dalquhenzie and Glencoyth, with the patronage of the pro- 
vostry and chaplaincy of Innerpeffrey, which were to be given by the 
King to John Drummond of Innerpeffrey, and to the King's sister, 
Margaret, Lady Gordon, his spouse. It was stipulated in the 
obligation that David, Lord Drummond, was to marry Margaret 
Stewart, daughter of Margaret, Lady Gordon. The instrument oi 

The Drummonds. 89 

infeftment, dated 1st and 2nd November, 1542, affords the most 
positive proof of the distinction between the old and new possessions 
of Drummond in Stirlingshire and Drommane in Strathern, and the 
two were for the first time, by a charter dated 25th October, 1542, 
' united, erected, and incorporated into a free barony, to be called in 
alltymes to cum the Barony of Drummen.' It is evident, then, that 
1 whatever lands in the Lennox the earlier members of the house of 
Drummond might have held, such certainly did not comprehend the 
lands bearing their own name.' The lands of Drummond were sold 
by the Earl of Perth, in 1631, to William, Earl of Strathern and 
Menteith. The eighth and last Earl entailed them upon James, 
Marquis of Montrose, and they have ever since formed part of the 
Montrose estates. 

The lands of Roseneath, in Dumbartonshire, were also said by 
Mr. Henry Drummond to have been granted by Malcolm Canmore 
to the alleged Hungarian prince, but these lands were in reality 
acquired by the Drummonds in 1372, by a grant from Mary, 
Countess of Menteith, and were soon restored. The bars wavy, the 
armorial bearings of the Drummonds, were alleged to have been 
taken from the tempestuous waves of the sea, when Maurice the 
Hungarian piloted the vessel which carried Edgar Atheling and his 
sisters. The late Mr. John Riddell affirms that this supposed origin of 
the Drummond arms is too absurd and fabulous to claim a moment's 
attention. Mr. Fraser has shown that the bars wavy were the proper 
arms of the Menteith earldom, and that the Drummonds, as feudal 
vassals of the Earls of Menteith, according to a very common prac- 
tice in other earldoms, adopted similar arms. 

It thus appears that the founder of the Drummond family was not 
a Hungarian prince, or even gentleman, but Malcolm Beg, chamber- 
lain to the Earl of Lennox. When the War of Independence broke out 
the Drummonds embraced the patriotic side. John of Drummond 
was taken prisoner at the battle of Dunbar, and was imprisoned in 
the castle of Wisbeach ; but he was set at liberty in August, 1297, on 
Sir Edmund Hastings, proprietor of part of Menteith in right of his 
wife, Lady Isabella Comyn, offering himself as security, and on the 
condition that he would accompany King Edward to France. His 
eldest son, Sir Malcolm Drummond, was a zealous supporter of 
the claims of Robert Bruce to the Scottish throne, and like his father 
fell into the hands of the English, having been taken prisoner by Sir 
John Segrave. On hearing this 'good news,' King Edward, on the 

go The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

20th of August, 1301, offered oblations at the shrine of St. Mungo, 
in the cathedral of Glasgow. After the independence of the country 
was secured by the crowning victory of Bannockburn, Malcolm was 
rewarded for his services by King Robert Bruce with lands in Perth- 
shire. Sir Robert Douglas, the eminent genealogist, conjectures 
that the caltrops, or four-spiked pieces of iron, with the motto 
' Gang warily,' in the armorial bearings of the Drummonds, were 
bestowed as an acknowledgment of Sir Malcolm's active efforts in 
the use of these formidable weapons at the battle of Bannockburn. 
His grandson, John Drummond, married the eldest daughter and 
co-heiress of Sir John Montefex,* the first of the numerous fortunate 
marriages made by the Drummonds. Maurice, another grandson, 
married the heiress of Concraig and of the Stewardship of Strathearn. 
A second son, Sir Malcolm, whom Wyntoun terms ' a manfull 
knycht, baith wise and wary,' fought at the battle of Otterburn in 
1388, in which his brother-in-law, James, second Earl of Douglas and 
Mar, was killed, and succeeded him in the latter earldom, in right of 
his wife, Lady Isabel Douglas, only daughter of William, first Earl 
of Douglas. He seems to have had some share in the capture at 
that battle of Ralph Percy, brother of the famous Hotspur, as he 
received from Robert III. a pension of ^20, in satisfaction of the 
third part of Percy's ransom, which exceeded ^"600. He died of his 
' hard captivity' which he endured at the hands of a band of ruffians 
by whom he was seized and imprisoned. His widow, the heiress of 
the ancient family of Mar, was forcibly married by Alexander Stewart, 
a natural son of ' the Wolf of Badenoch.' [See Earldom of Mar ] 
Sir Walter Drummond, who was knighted by James II., was the 
ancestor of the Drummonds of Blair Drummond, Gairdrum, Newton, 
and other branches of the main stock. Sir John Drummond, the 
head of the family in the reign of James IV., held the great office of 
Justiciar of Scotland, was Constable of the castle of Stirling, took a 
prominent part in public affairs, and was created a peer 29th January, 
1487-8, by the title of Lord Drummond. Although this honour, as 
we have seen, was conferred upon him by James III., Lord Drum- 
mond joined the party of the disaffected nobles, who took up arms 
against their sovereign, with the Prince at their head, and was 
rewarded for his services after the death of the King at Sauchieburn 

* It has hitherto been supposed that the estates of Stobhall and Cargill, on the 
Tay, which still belong to the family, came into the possession of the Drummonds by 
marriage with this heiress, but they were in reality bestowed by David II. on Queen 
Margaret, and were given by her to Malcolm of Drummond, her nephew. 

The Drummonds. 91 

by a lease, subsequently converted into a grant, of the Crown lands 
of Drummond in the county of Stirling-. 

The Drummonds were not only a brave and energetic race, but they 
were conspicuous for their handsome persons and gallant bearing. 
Good looks ran in their blood, and the ladies of the family were famous 
for their personal beauty, which no doubt led to the great marriages 
made by them, generation after generation, with the Douglases, Gor- 
dons, Grahams, Crawfords, Kers, and other powerful families, which 
greatly increased the influence and possessions of their house. Mar- 
garet, daughter of Malcolm, Lord Drummond, and widow of Sir John 
Logie, became the second wife of David II., who seems to have been 
familiar with her during her husband's lifetime. The Drummonds 
gave a second queen to Scotland in the person of Annabella, the 
saintly wife of Robert III., and mother of the unfortunate David, 
Duke of Rothesay, and of James I., whose ' depth of sagacity and firm- 
ness of mind' contributed not a little to the good government of the 
kingdom. They had nearly given another royal consort to share 
the throne of James IV., who was devotedly attached to Margaret, 
eldest daughter of the first Lord Drummond, a lady of great beauty.* 
But that king's purpose to marry her was frustrated by her death, 
in consequence of poison administered by some of the nobles, who 
were envious of the honour which was a third time about to be con- 
ferred on her family. Her two younger sisters, who accidentally 
partook of the poisoned dish, shared her fate. The historian of the 
Drummonds states that James was ' affianced to Lady Margaret, and 
meant to make her his queen without consulting his council. He 
was opposed by those nobles who wished him to wed Margaret 
Tudor. His clergy likewise protested against his marriage as within 
the prohibited degrees. Before the King could receive the dispensa- 
tion, his wife (the Lady Margaret) was poisoned at breakfast at 
Drummond Castle, with her two sisters. Suspicion fell on the Ken- 
nedys — a rival house, a member of which, Lady Janet Kennedy, 
daughter of John, Lord Kennedy, had borne a son to the King.' A 
slightly different account is given in ' Morreri's Dictionary,' on the 
authority of a manuscript history of the family of Drummond, com- 

* The entries in the Lord High Treasurer's accounts respecting the frequent rich 
presents lavished on a certain Lady Margaret, which have been adduced as proofs ot 
the relation in which Lady Margaret Drummond stood to James, have been proved to 
refer to Lady Margaret Stewart, the King's aunt. James, indeed, was a mere boy 
when those sums were paid ; his connection with Margaret Drummond did not 
commence until the summer of 1496. 

q2 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

posed in 1689. It is there stated that Lady Margaret, daughter of 
the first Lord Drummond, 'was so much beloved by James IV. that 
he wished to marry her, but as they were connected by blood, and a 
dispensation from the Pope was required, the impatient monarch 
concluded a private marriage, from which clandestine union sprang 
a daughter, who became the wife of the Earl of Huntly. The dis- 
pensation having arrived, the King determined to celebrate his 
nuptials publicly ; but the jealousy of some of the nobles against the 
house of Drummond suggested to them the cruel project of taking 
off Margaret by poison, in order that her family might not enjoy the 
glory of giving two queens to Scotland.' The three young ladies 
thus ' foully done to death ' were buried in a vault, covered with three 
blue marble stones, in the choir of the cathedral of Dunblane. 

John, first Lord Drummond, died in 15 19, upwards of eighty years 
of age. His eldest son predeceased him, and William, Master of Drum- 
mond, his second son, was unfortunately implicated in a tragic affair 
which brought him to the scaffold. There was a feud of long standing 
between the Drummonds and the Murrays, and in 1490 the Master 
of Drummond, having learned that a party of Murrays were levying 
teinds on his father's estates for George Murray, Abbot of Inchaffray, 
hastened to oppose them at the head of a large body of followers, 
accompanied by Campbell of DunstafTnage. The Murrays took 
refuge in the church of Monievaird, and the Master and his party 
were retiring, when a shot from the church killed one of the Dun- 
staffnage men. The Highlanders, in revenge for this murder, set 
fire to the church, and nineteen of the Murrays were burnt to death. 
James determined to punish the ringleaders in this shocking outrage 
with death, and the Master of Drummond was apprehended, tried, 
convicted, and executed, in spite of the earnest entreaties of his 
mother and sister in his behalf. 

He left a son, who predeceased his grandfather, and in conse- 
quence the first Lord Drummond was succeeded by his great-grand- 
son David, who became second Lord Drummond. He was a zealous 
adherent of Queen Mary. His second son, James, Lord Maderty, 
was ancestor of the Viscounts Strathallan. He married Margaret, 
daughter of Alexander, Duke of Albany, and grand -daughter of 
James II. His elder son, Patrick, third Lord Drummond, embraced 
the Protestant religion. The great beauty, ability, and virtues of 
his daughter, the Countess of Roxburgh, were celebrated in glowing 
strains by the poet Daniel, and she was held in such high estimation 

The Drummonds. 93 

by James VI. that he made choice of her to be the governess of his 
daughters. The Drummonds were a courtly family, and throughout 
their whole career were conspicuous for their attachment to the 
throne. They fought gallantly on the royal side, under Montrose, 
in the Great Civil War, and suffered severely for their loyalty. More 
fortunate, however, than most of the Royalist nobles, they were 
liberally rewarded at the Restoration for their fidelity to the Crown. 

James, fourth Lord Drummond, was created Earl of Perth in 
1605. His brother, the second Earl, was a staunch Royalist, and 
was fined ,£5,000 by Cromwell for his adherence to the cause of 
Charles I. His grandson James, fourth Earl, after holding the 
offices of Lord Justice-General and of an Extraordinary Lord of 
Session, was in 1684 appointed Lord Chancellor of Scotland. He 
was a special favourite of James VII., whose good will he and his 
younger brother had gained by renouncing the Protestant religion, 
and embracing the tenets of Romanism. ' With a certain audacious 
baseness,' says Lord Macaulay, 'which characterised Scottish public 
men in that bad age, the brothers declared that the papers found in 
the strong box of Charles II. had converted them both to the true 
faith, and they began to confess and to hear mass. How little con- 
science had to do with Perth's change of religion he amply proved 
by taking to wife a few weeks later, in direct defiance of the laws of 
the Church which he had just joined, a lady who was his cousin- 
german, without waiting for a dispensation. When the good Pope 
learned this he said, with scorn and indignation which well became 
him, that this was a strange sort of conversion.' 

Apostasy from the Episcopal Church to Romanism, and especially 
apostasy such as this, was a sure passport to the confidence and 
liberality of James, and Perth speedily became the chief Scottish 
favourite of that weak and tyrannical monarch. He obtained a gift 
of the forfeited estates of Lord Melville, and was entrusted with the 
whole management of affairs in Scotland. He readily lent himself to 
carry out the arbitrary and unconstitutional schemes of his master, 
and took a prominent part in the cruel persecution of the Cove- 
nanters. Burnet ascribes to him the invention of a little steel thumb- 
screw, which inflicted such intolerable pain that it wrung confessions 
out of men on whom his Majesty's favourite boot had been tried in 
vain. Perth's younger brother was created Earl of Melfort in 
1686, received a grant of a portion of the forfeited estates of the 
Earl of Argyll, and was appointed Secretary of State for Scotland. 

94 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

The unprincipled conduct of these two chief ministers of affairs 
rendered them very obnoxious to the people, and especially to the 
citizens of Edinburgh. A cargo of images, beads, crosses, and 
censers was sent from the Continent to Lord Perth, in direct 
violation of the law which forbade the importation of such articles. 
A Roman Catholic chapel was fitted up in the Chancellor's 
house, in which mass was regularly performed. A riot in conse- 
quence took place. The iron bars which protected the windows 
were wrenched off and the inmates were pelted with mud. The 
troops were called out to quell the disturbance, the mob assailed 
them with stones ; in return, the troops were ordered to fire, and 
several citizens were killed. Two or three of the ringleaders of the 
riot were hanged, amid expressions of strong sympathy for the 
sufferers, and of abhorrence of the Chancellor, on whom the whole 
blame was laid. 

Perth and his brother were poor creatures both, and seem to have 
been destitute even of the physical courage of their house. When 
the Revolution took place and his royal master fled to France, the 
Chancellor, whose ' nerves were weak and his spirit abject,' took 
refuge at Castle Drummond, his country seat, near Crieff, under the 
escort of a strong guard, and there experienced ' an agony as bitter 
as that into which the merciless tyrant had often thrown better men.' 
He confessed that ' the strong terrors of death were upon him,' and 
vainly ' tried to find consolation in the rites of his new Church.' 
Believing that he was not safe even among his own domestics and 
tenantry, he quitted Drummond Castle in disguise, and, crossing by 
unfrequented paths the Ochil Hills, then deep in snow, he succeeded 
in getting on board a collier vessel which lay off Kirkcaldy. But his 
flight was discovered. It was rumoured that he had carried off with 
him a large amount of gold, and a skiff, commanded by an old 
buccaneer, pursued and overtook the flying vessel near the Bass, at 
the mouth of the Firth. The Chancellor was dragged from the hold 
where he had concealed himself disguised in woman's clothes, was 
hurried on shore begging for life with unmanly cries, like his brother 
chancellor, Jeffries, and was consigned to the common jail of Kirk- 
caldy. He was afterwards transferred, amidst the execrations and 
screams of hatred of a crowd of spectators, to the castle of Stirling, 
where he was kept a close prisoner for four years. On regaining his 
liberty, in 1693, the ex-Chancellor went to Rome, where he resided 
tor two years. King James then sent for him to St. Germains, 

The Drummonds. 05 

appointed him First Lord of the Bedchamber, Chamberlain to the 
Queen, and governor to their son, the titular Prince of Wales, who, 
on his father's death, raised the Earl to the rank of Duke — a title 
which was, of course, not recognised by the British Government. He 
was deeply engaged in all the intrigues and plots of the mimic court 
of the exiled monarch until his death in 17 16. 

His eldest son, James, Lord Drummond, accompanied King James 
in his expedition to Ireland, took a prominent part in the rebellion of 
17 15, and was, in consequence, attainted by the British Parliament. 
But two years before this unsuccessful attempt to restore the Stewart 
family to the throne, he executed a disposition of his estates in 
favour of his son, which was sustained by the Court of Session, and 
affirmed by the House of Lords. Destiny, however, had set her 
hand on the ill-fated house, and its doom was only postponed, not 
averted. The heir of the family, James, third titular Duke of 
Perth, true to the principles of his family, joined Prince Charles 
Stewart in the rebellion of 1745, at the head of his tenantry, and 
shared in all the perils and privations of that unfortunate adventurer. 
He was a young man of an amiable disposition and dauntless 
courage, but his abilities were very moderate, his constitution was 
weak, and he was quite inexperienced both in politics and in war. 
'In spite of a very delicate constitution,' says Douglas, ' he under- 
went the greatest fatigues, and was the first on every occasion of 
duty where his head or his hands could be of use.' He commanded 
the right wing of the Highlanders at the battle of Prestonpans, 
directed the siege of Carlisle, and of the castle of Stirling, and was 
at the head of the left wing at the final conflict of Culloden. After 
that disastrous battle, though tracked and pursued by the English 
troops, he made his escape to Moidart, and embarked in a French 
vessel lying off that coast. But his constitution was quite worn out 
by the privations he had undergone, and he died on his passage to 
France, nth May, 1746, at the age of thirty-three. His brother and 
heir, Lord John Drummond, a colonel in the French service, com- 
manded the left wing of the Highlanders at the battle of Falkirk. 
On the suppression of the rebellion, he made his escape to France, 
served with distinction in Flanders under Marshal Saxe, and 
attained the rank of major-general shortly before his death, in 
1747. Previous to his death, the Duke of Perth had been attainted 
by the British Parliament, and his estates were forfeited to the Crown. 
His two uncles successively assumed the title of Duke of Perth, and 

96 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

on the death of Lord Edward Drummond, the younger of the two, 
at Paris, in 1760, the main line of the family became extinct. 

The succession fell to the descendants of the Earl of Melfort, 
younger brother of the Chancellor, and Secretary of State for 
Scotland under James VII. He too, as we have seen, became a 
pervert to the Romish Church, and in his zeal for his new faith 
obtained from the King the exclusion of his family by his first wife 
from the right to inherit his estates and titles, because their mother's 
relations had frustrated his attempts to convert them to Romanism. 
At the Revolution he fled to France, and was attainted by Act of 
Parliament in 1695. He was created Duke de Melfort in 1701, and 
for a number of years had the chief administration of the affairs of 
the exiled monarch. He died in 17 14. His second wife, daughter 
of Sir Thomas Wallace of Craigie, lived to be above ninety years of 
age, and in her latter years supported herself by keeping a faro-table. 
His descendants remained in their adopted country, and identified 
themselves with its faith, its interests, and its manners. Most of 
them embraced the military profession and attained high rank in the 
French, German, and Polish services. Some of them entered the 
Church, and one was elevated to the rank of cardinal. George, 
Sixth Duke of Melfort, renounced the Romish faith, conformed to 
the Protestant Church, entered the British army, and became a 
captain in the 98th Highlanders. Having petitioned the Queen for 
the restoration of the Scottish attainted honours, he proved his 
descent, in 1848, before the Committee for Privileges of the House 
of Lords, was restored in blood by an Act of Parliament in 1853, 
and was reinstated in the earldom of Perth and the other Scottish 
honours of his illustrious house. 

Meanwhile, the Drummond estates, which had been forfeited to 
the Crown in 1746, remained for nearly forty years under the charge 
of Commissioners. In 1784, however, they were conferred by 
George III., under the authority of an Act of Parliament, on a 
Captain James Drummond, who claimed to be heir male of Lord 
John Drummond, brother of the duke who fought at Culloden. 
The fortunate recipient of these fine estates was, in addition, created 
a British peer by the title of Baron Perth. At his death, in the vear 
1800, his landed property descended to his daughter, Clementina 
Drummond, who married the twelfth Lord Willoughby de Eresby. 
At her death the Drummond estates devolved upon her eldest 
daughter, Lady Aviland. 

Tin Dnimmonds. 97 

Repeated but unsuccessful efforts have been made by the Earl of 
Perth to obtain the restitution of the hereditary possessions of the 
family. He pleaded that he is now the nearest lawful heir male of 
James, third Duke of Perth, and that he is the first of his house who 
could sue for the family inheritance, as his predecessors were all 
French subjects and Papists, and incapable of taking up any heritable 
estate in Scotland. He also alleged that when the forfeited posses- 
sions of the Drummond family were restored, they ought legally to 
have been conferred on the nearest heir in the direct line of the 
entail of 17 13. An adverse decision, however, was given both by the 
Court of Session and the House of Lords, mainly on the ground that 
the attainder vested the estates absolutely in the Crown, that they 
might, therefore, be conferred at will by the sovereign or Parlia- 
ment, and that their gift to Captain Drummond cannot be reduced. 

The interests at stake in this suit were very valuable. Though 
Drymen, the original seat of the Drummond family, and their other 
Dumbartonshire property, passed into the hands of the Grahams cen- 
turies ago, and the whole of their Stirlingshire estates, along with 
Auchterarder and other ancient possessions of the family in Perth- 
shire, have also passed away from them, there yet remain the antique 
castle of Drummond with its quaint and beautiful gardens, Stobhall 
and Cargill, which four hundred years ago were bestowed upon 
Malcolm Drummond by Queen Margaret, his aunt, and the 
Trossachs, Loch Katrine, and Glenartney, immortalised by Sir Walter 
Scott, yielding in all nearly ^30,000 a year. 

There can be no doubt that both on political and social grounds, 
it would have been better that these fine estates should have devolved 
on a resident proprietor, the representative of their ancient owners, 
than that they should be held by a non-resident family already 
possessed of vast estates in another part of the island, strangers to 
the country and to the tenantry, and who never see or are seen by 
them, except during a few weeks in autumn. 

As showing the grandeur of the Drummond family, Mr. Henry 
Drummond says that they have furnished Dukes of Roxburgh, 
Perth, and Melfort ; a Marquis of Forth ; Earls of Mar, Perth, and 
Ker ; Viscounts Strathallan ; Barons Drummond, Inch affray, 
Madderty, Cromlix, and Stobhall ; Knights of the Garter, St. Louis, 
Golden Fleece, and Thistle; Ambassadors, Queens of Scotland, 
Duchesses of Albany and Athole ; Countesses of Monteith, Mont- 
rose, Eglinton, Mar, Rothes, Tullibardine, Dunfermline, Rox- 

vol. 11. h 

98 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

burgh, Winton, Sutherland, Balcarres, Crawford, Arran, Errol, 
M arischal, Kinnoul, Hyndford, Effingham ; Macquary in France, 
and Castle Blanche in Spain ; Baronesses Fleming, Elphinstone, 
Livingstone, Willoughby, Hervey, Oliphant, Rollo, and Kinclaven. 

' To this long list of distinguished names,' says Mr. Fraser, ' the 
author might have added Margaret Drummond, sometime Logie, the 
second queen of King David Bruce.' 

Mr. Henry Drummond might also have mentioned the various 
minor branches of the family, such as the Drummonds of Carnock ; 
of Hawthornden, to whom William Drummond, the celebrated poet, 
belonged ; of Logie Almond, who produced the distinguished scholar 
and antiquary, Sir William Drummond ; the Drummonds of Blair- 
Drummond, whose heiress married Henry Home, the celebrated 
Lord Karnes, lawyer, judge, and philosopher ; and others. 

The present Earl of Perth, who was born in 1807, had an only 
son, Malcolm, Viscount Forth, who died in 1 861, in very melancholy 
circumstances. He left a son, George Essex Montifex, born in 1856. 
It is stated in DebreW s Peerage that in 1874 the young lord married 
a daughter of the late Mr. Harrison, lead merchant, of London. 
According to the Quebec Mercury the youth, who was only eighteen 
years of age, immediately after his marriage, which displeased his 
family, emigrated with his wife to the United States. He landed at 
New York without means, and engaged himself as a shipping clerk 
to a firm in that town. He somehow lost his situation, however, and 
left New York and settled at Brookhaven, a fishing village on the 
south shore of Long Island. He lived there for several years in a 
picturesque old farmhouse, supporting himself and his wife very 
comfortably by fishing and shooting. In appearance, dress, man- 
ners, and language, he differed little from the fishermen of the 
village, who knew him only as George. Last year he quitted Brook- 
haven, and bringing his wife and one child — a son — to New York, 
he became a porter to a dry goods firm. When he was a shipping 
clerk he was visited by Lord Walter Campbell, who unsuccessfully 
tried to persuade the runaway to return home. He has now, how- 
ever, gone back to his native country, and it is understood that a 
reconciliation has been effected between him and the old Earl, his 


HE Drummonds of Strathallan are descended from James 
Drumjiond, second son of David, second Lord Drum- 
mond. He was educated along with James VI., with 
whom he seems to have been a favourite through life, and 
was appointed one of the Gentlemen of the Royal Bedchamber in 
1585. He was present with James at Perth, 5th August, 1600, when 
the Earl of Gowrie and his brother lost their lives in their attempt to 
obtain possession of the King's person. He obtained the office of 
commendatorofthe Abbey of Inchaffray, which was founded a.d. 1200 
by Gilbert, Earl of Strathern, and his Countess, Matilda. Maurice, 
abbot of this religious house, was present at the battle of Bannock- 
burn, and, before the conflict commenced, he passed bareheaded, and 
barefooted, through the ranks of the Scottish army, and, holding 
aloft a crucifix, in a few forcible words exhorted them to fight 
bravely for their rights and liberties. The Abbey shared the fate of 
the other monastic establishments of Scotland, and its lands were 
formed into a temporal barony in favour of James Drummond, who 
was raised to the peerage 31st January, 1609, by the title of Lord 
Madderty, the name of the parish in which Inchaffray is situated. 
He obtained the lands of Inverpeffray also, by his marriage with 
the heiress — a daughter of Sir James Chisholme of Cromlix — which 
descended to her through her mother from Sir James Drummond. 
The elder of his two sons — 

John Drummond, became second Lord Madderty. Though, like 
all his family, a Royalist, he did not take up arms in behalf of 
Charles I. until after the battle of Kilsyth in 1645, which had com- 
pletely prostrated the cause of the Parliament in Scotland. He then 
repaired to the standard of Montrose at Bothwell, along with the 

ioo The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

Marquis of Douglas, the Earls of Linlithgow, Annandale, Hartfell, 
and other ' waiters on Providence,' who had held back until they saw 
which side was likely to prove the strongest. He does not appear 
to have accompanied Montrose to the Border, but he was afterwards 
imprisoned for the adherence which he had professed to the royal 
cause, and in 1649 he bound himself, under a heavy penalty, not to 
oppose the Parliament. He was succeeded by his eldest son, David; 
his fifth son, William, became the first Viscount Strathallan. 

David Drummond, third Lord Madderty, suffered imprisonment 
in 1644, along with other Royalists, by order of the Committee of 
Estates. His two sons by his second wife, Beatrice, sister of the 
great Marquis of Montrose, died young, and he was succeeded by 
his youngest brother — 

William Drummond. He took an active part on the royal side 
in the Great Civil W T ar, was an officer in the army of the ' Engage- 
ment ' raised for the rescue of Charles I. in 1648, and had the 
command of a regiment at the battle of Worcester in 1651, where 
he was taken prisoner, but made his escape. He succeeded in 
making his way to the Highlands, and joined there the force which 
had been collected under the Earl of Glencairn, but when they were 
surprised and defeated by General Morgan at Lochgarry in 1654, 
Lord Madderty fled to the Continent. He subsequently entered the 
Muscovite service, in which he attained the rank of lieutenant- 
general. As he himself said, he ' served long in the wars, at home 
and abroad, against the Polonians and Tartars.' After the Restora- 
tion he was recalled to his own country by Charles II., who appointed 
him in 1666 Major-General of the Forces in Scotland. He was 
sent in the following year, along with General Tom Dalzell, another 
Muscovite officer, to scour the shires of Ayr, Dumfries, and Galloway, 
and to complete the ruin of the Presbyterian party. But in 1675, 
on the suspicion that he had corresponded with some of the exiled 
Covenanters in Holland, he was imprisoned for a whole year in 
Dumbarton Castle. On his release he was restored to his command, 
and, in 1684, was appointed General of the Ordnance. On the acces- 
sion of James VII. in the following year, General Drummond was 
nominated Commander of the Forces in Scotland, and appointed a 
Lord of the Treasury. ' He was a loose and profane man,' says 
Lord Macaulay, ' but a sense of honour, which his own kinsmen 

The Strathallan Drummonds. 101 

wanted, restrained him from a public apostasy. He lived and died, 
in the significant phrase of one of his countrymen, " a bad Christian 
but a good Protestant." ' In 1686, along with the Duke of Hamilton 
and Sir George Lockhart, he strenuously opposed the attempt of 
King James to grant an indulgence to the Roman Catholics which he 
refused to the Scottish Covenanters. He succeeded his brother as 
Lord Madderty in 1684, and was created Viscount of Strathallan and 
Lord Drummond of Cromlix in 1686. He was the Lord Strathallan 
who wrote, in 168 1, a history of the Drummond family, to which refer- 
ence has already been made. The work remained in manuscript till 
the year 1831, when one hundred copies were printed for private 
circulation. In the preface to the volume the editor states that ' the 
author enjoyed the best advantages in the prosecution of his labours, 
not only in obtaining the use of the several accounts drawn up by 
previous writers, but in having free access to original papers, and to 
every other source of information regarding the collateral branches 
of a family to which he himself was nearly related, and of which he 
became so distinguished an ornament.' His lordship had, however, 
adopted without inquiry the traditional account of the origin of the 
Drummond family, and does not appear to have scrutinised the 
charters in their possession. 

Lord Strathallan died in January, 1688, and was, therefore, spared 
the sight of the expulsion of the Stewart family from the throne. 
Principal Munro, who preached his funeral sermon, said of him, 
' Now we have this generous soul in Muscovia, a stranger, and you 
may be sure the cavalier's coffers were not then of great weight ; 
but he carried with him that which never forsook him till his last 
breath — resolution above the disasters of fortune, composure of spirit 
in the midst of adversity, and accomplishments, proper for any station 
in court or camp, that became a gentleman.' The Covenanters in 
Galloway who were 'harried' by General Drummond would have 
probably added some qualities to this panegyric which the courtly 
Principal has omitted. 

Lord Strathallan left by his wife, a daughter of the celebrated 
leader of the Covenanters, Johnstone of Warriston, one daughter, 
who became Countess of Kinnoul, and a son — 

William, second Viscount of Strathallan, of whom nothing 
worthy of note is recorded. He died in 1702. On the death of his 
only son — 

102 77/<? Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

William, third Viscount, in his sixtieth year (26th May, 171 1), 
the family estates passed to the Earl of Kinnoul as heir of line, while 
the titles reverted to the heir male, William Drummond, descended 
from Sir James Drummond of Machany, second son of the first Lord 
Machany, a Royalist, like all his family. He was colonel of the 
Perthshire Foot in the army of the ' Engagement,' and died before 
the Restoration. His eldest son, also named Sir James, the only 
one of eight who had issue, was fined ^500 by Cromwell, and died 
in 1675. The three eldest of his six sons predeceased him, and the 
fourth son — 

William Drummond, succeeded his cousin as fourth Viscount of 
Strathallan. Along with his youngest brother Thomas, he repaired 
at once to the standard of the Earl of Mar in 17 15 ; indeed the 
whole Drummond clan were most zealous in the cause of the exiled 
family. The Viscount was taken prisoner at the battle of Sheriff- 
muir, but, for some unexplained reason, he escaped both personal 
punishment and the forfeiture of his estate. The lenity shown him 
by the Government, however, produced no change in his attachment 
to the Stewarts, for in 1745, within a fortnight after the standard of 
Prince Charles had been raised in Glenfinnan, he was joined by Lord 
Strathallan at the head of his retainers. When the Jacobite army, 
after their victory at Preston, marched into England, his lordship 
was left in command of the forces stationed in Scotland. At the 
battle of Culloden he was stationed on the right wing, and, when it 
gave way, he was cut down by the English dragoons and killed on 
the spot. His wife, a daughter of the Baroness Nairne, who bore 
him seven sons and six daughters, for her devotion to the Jacobite 
cause was imprisoned in the castle of Edinburgh from the begin- 
ning of February to the end of November, 1746. 

James Drummond, eldest son of Viscount Strathallan, took part 
along with his father in this ill-starred attempt to restore the Stewarts 
to the throne, but he succeeded in making his escape to the Conti- 
nent after the ruin of the cause. He was included in the Act of 
Attainder passed against his father, but though he was at that time 
de jure in possession of the titles and estates of the family, he was 
designated James, eldest son of the Viscount of Strathallan. The 
Act of Attainder was not passed until the 4th of June, 1746, nearly 
seven weeks after his father's death at Culloden. It was strenuously 

The Strathallan Drummonds. 103 

contended before the House of Lords that the attainder was vitiated 
by this erroneous description, but it was held by an absurd fiction of 
English law that all the Acts passed in any one Parliament must be 
regarded as passed on one day, and that day the first on which the 
Parliament assembled. The language of the attainder was therefore 
held to be sufficiently correct — a decision repugnant at once to 
justice and common sense. The decision in the Strathallan case, 
however, attracted so much notice, and was so universally con- 
demned, that the practice was immediately thereafter altered, and 
every act has since been dated from the day on which it passed. 

James Drummond died at Sens, in Champagne, in 1765. He left 
two sons, both of whom died unmarried. The younger, Andrew 
John Drummond, was an officer in the British army, and served with 
distinction in America under Sir William Howe in 1776 and 1777, 
and on the Continent in the campaigns of 1793 and 1794. He 
was appointed Governor of Dumbarton Castle, and attained the rank 
of General in 181 2. The family estates had been repurchased in 
1775, an d on the death of General Drummond in 18 17 they devolved 
on James Andrew John Laurence Charles Drummond, second son of 
William Drummond, third son of the fourth Viscount of Strathallan. 
He held for a good many years the position of chief of the British 
settlement at Canton. On his return to Scotland he was elected 
member for Perthshire, by a small majority, in March, 181 2, and a 
second time a few months later, after a spirited contest with Mr. 
Graham of Balgowan (afterwards Lord Lynedoch). He was subse- 
quently returned without opposition in July, 181 8, and in March, 
1820, and continued to represent the county until the year 1824, 
when he was restored by Act of Parliament to the forfeited titles of 
his family, of Viscount Strathallan, Lord Madderty, and Drummond 
of Cromlix. He was soon after elected one of the sixteen represen- 
tative peers of Scotland, and continued to hold that position till his 
death in 1851. He left by his wife, a daughter of the Duke of 
Athole, five sons and two daughters. His eldest son, William 
Henry Drummond, sixth Viscount, born in 1810, is a representative 
peer, and has been on two occasions a Lord-in-Waiting to the 

The famous banking-house of the Drummonds, in London, was 
founded by a cadet of the Strathallan family — Andrew, the fifth son 
of the third Viscount. His connection with the Jacobites obtained 
for him the support of the great nobles and influential landed pro- 

104 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

prietors in England belonging to that party, and raised his house to 
a foremost position among the banking establishments of the metro- 
polis. Several members of the Strathallan family have been partners 
in the bank, the most noted of whom was Henry Drummond of 
Albury Park, member of Parliament for West Surrey, a remark- 
ably shrewd and sagacious man of business, and the head of the 
' Catholic Apostolic ' Church — a believer in the gift of tongues, and 
a patron of Edward Irving, and at the same time the founder of the 
Professorship of Political Economy at Oxford. Edward, second son 
of Charles Drummond, of Cadlands, another of the partners in the 
bank, was private secretary to Sir Robert Peel, and was assassinated 
in the street, near Charing Cross, while in company with Sir Robert, 
by a lunatic named M'Naghton, who intended to shoot that eminent 


[HE Erskine family, which has produced a remarkable num- 
ber of eminent men in every department of public life, 
derived their designation from the barony of Erskine in 
Renfrewshire, situated on the south bank of the Clyde. 
A Henry de Erskine, from whom the family trace their descent, was 
proprietor of this barony so early as the reign of Alexander II. 
A daughter of his great-grandson, Sir John de Erskine, was married 
to Sir Thomas Bruce, a brother of King Robert, who was taken 
prisoner and put to death by the English ; another became the wife 
of Walter, High Steward of Scotland. The brother of these ladies 
was a faithful adherent of Robert Bruce, and as a reward for his 
patriotism and valour, was knighted under the royal banner on the 
field. He died in 1329. His son, Sir Robert de Erskine, held the 
great offices of Lord High Chamberlain, justiciary north of the 
Forth, and Constable of the Castles of Edinburgh, Stirling, and 
Dumbarton. He was six times ambassador to England, was also 
sent on an emoassy to France, was Warden of the Marches, and 
heritable Sheriff of Stirlingshire. He took an active part in secur- 
ing the succession of the House of Stewart to the throne, on the 
death of David Bruce. In return for this important service he 
received from Robert II. a grant of the estate of Alloa, which still 
remains in the possession of the family, in exchange for the hunting- 
ground of Strathgartney. Sir Thomas, the son of this powerful 
noble by his marriage to Janet Keith, great grand- daughter of 
Gratney, Earl of Mar, laid the foundation of the claim which the 
Erskines preferred to that dignity, and the vast estates which were 
originally included in the earldom. Though their claim was 
rejected by James I., the family continued to prosper; new honours 
and possessions were liberally conferred upon them by successive 

io6 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

sovereigns, and they were elevated to the peerage in 1467. The 
second Lord Erskine fought on the side of King James III. against 
the rebel lords at Sauchieburn. Robert, third Lord Erskine, fell at 
the battle of Flodden with four oth^r gentlemen, his kinsmen. The 
grandson of that lord, the Master of Erskine, was killed at Pinkie. 
For several generations the Erskines were entrusted with the 
honourable and responsible duty of keeping the heirs to the Crown 
during their minority. James IV., James V., Queen Mary, James VI., 
and his eldest son, Prince Henry, were in turn committed to the 
charge of the head of the Erskine family, who discharged this 
important trust with great fidelity. John, the fourth Lord Erskine, 
who had the keeping of James V. during his minority, was employed 
by him in after life in important public affairs, was present at the 
melancholy death of that monarch at Falkland, and after that event 
afforded for some time a refuge to his infant daughter, the unfortunate 
Mary, in Stirling Castle, of which he was hereditary governor. On 
the invasion of Scotland by the English, he removed her for greater 
security to the Priory of Inchmahome, an island in the Lake of 
Menteith, which was his own property. His eldest son, who fell at 
the battle of Pinkie during his father's lifetime, was the ancestor, by 
an illegitimate son, of the Erskines of Shieldfield, near Dryburgh, 
from whom sprang the celebrated brothers Ebenezer and Ralph 
Erskine, the founders of the Secession Church. 

John, fifth Lord Erskine, though a Protestant, was held in such 
esteem by Queen Mary that she bestowed on him the long-coveted 
title of Ear] of Mar, which had been withheld from his ancestor a 
hundred and thirty years earlier. He maintained a neutral position 
during the protracted struggle between the Lords of the Congre- 
gation and the Queen Regent, Mary of Guise ; but when she was 
reduced to great straits, he gave her an asylum in the castle of Edin- 
burgh, where she died in 1560. The young Queen Mary put herself 
under his protection when about to be delivered of her son, afterwards 
James VL The infant prince was immediately committed to the 
care of the Earl, who conveyed him to the castle of Stirling, and in 
the following year he baffled all the attempts of Bothwell to obtain 
possession of the heir to the throne. When James was subsequently 
crowned, though only thirteen months old, the Parliament imposed 
upon the Earl of Mar the onerous and responsible duty of keeping and 
educating the infant sovereign, which he discharged with exemplary 

The Erskines. 107 

fidelity. James seems to have spent his youthful years very happily 
as well as securely in the household of the Earl, pursuing his studies, 
and enjoying his sports in the company of Mar's eldest son. Mar's 
sister was the mother, by James V., of Regent Moray,* and the Earl 
was himself chosen Regent of Scotland in 157 1, on the death of the 
Earl of Lennox ; but he sank beneath the burden of anxiety and 
grief occasioned by the distracted state of the kingdom, and died 
in the following year. The family attained its highest lustre under 
the Regent's son, John, second Earl of Mar of the name of Erskine, 
the famous ' Jock o' the Sclaits ' (slates), f a name given him by 
James VI., his playfellow and a pupil along with him and his 
cousins, sons of Erskine of Gogar, of the learned and severe 
pedagogue, George Buchanan, under the superintendence of the 
Countess of Mar. He was one of the nobles who took part in the 
Raid of Ruthven in 1582. and was, in consequence, deprived of his 
office of Governor of Stirling Castle — which was conferred on the 
royal favourite Arran — and was obliged to take refuge in Ireland. 
An unsuccessful attempt to regain his position in 1584 made it 
necessary for the Earl to retire into England ; but in November of 
the following year, he and the other banished lords re-entered 
Scotland, and, at the head of eight thousand men, took possession 
of Stirling Castle and the person of the King, and expelled Arran 
from the Court. 

From this time forward the Earl of Mar was one of the King's 
most trusty counsellors and intimate friends, down to the end of his 
career. In July, 1595, he was formally entrusted by James with the 
custody and education of Prince Henry, by a warrant under the 
King's own hand, being the fifth of the heirs to the throne who had 
been committed to the charge of an Erskine. He was sent ambas- 
sador to England in 1601, and by his dexterous management 
contributed not a little to facilitate the peaceable accession of James 
to the English throne. A quarrel took place between the Earl and 
Queen Anne respecting the custody of Prince Henry, but James 
firmly maintained the claim of his friend in opposition to the angry 

* She afterwards married Sir William Douglas of Loch Leven. In Sir Walter 
Scott's Abbot, Lady Douglas is represented as a harsh custodian of Queen Mary. She 
was in reality very friendly to that illustrious Princess, and was not resident in Loch 
Leven Castle when Mary was imprisoned there. 

+ It is supposed that this sobriquet was given by James to his class-fellow from his 
having been intrusted by George Buchanan with a slate, whereon to record the misdeeds 
of the royal pupil during the pedagogue's absence. 

108 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

demand of his wife, who never forgave the Earl for resisting - her 
wishes. Mar, in return, steadily supported the policy of the King 
in his quarrels with the Scottish clergy, and voted for the * Five 
Articles of Perth,' though he was well aware how obnoxious they 
were to the people of Scotland. In 1616 the Earl was appointed 
to the office of Lord High Treasurer, which he held till 1620, and 
became the most powerful man in the kingdom. 

After the death of his first wife, Anne, daughter of David, Lord 
Drummond, the Earl fell ardently in love with Lady Mary Stewart, 
the daughter of the Duke of Lennox, the ill-fated royal favourite, 
and cousin of the King. As he was older than this French beauty, 
and had already a son and heir, she at first positively refused to 
marry him, remarking that ' Anne Drummond's bairn would be Earl 
of Mar, but that hers would be just Maister Erskine.' 4 Being of a 
hawtie spirit,' says Lord Somerville, ' she disdained that the children 
begotten upon her should be any ways inferior, either as to honour 
or estate, to the children of the first marriage. She leaves nae 
means unessayed to advance their fortunes.'* 

The Earl took her rejection of his suit so much to heart as to 
become seriously ill ; but the King strove to comfort him, and, in 
his homely style of speech said, ' By my saul, Jock, ye sanna dee for 
ony lass in a' the land.' He was aware that the main cause of the 
lady's refusal to marry his friend was her knowledge of the fact that 
the Earl's son by his first wife would inherit his titles as well as 
his estates, and he informed her that if she married Mar, and bore 
him a son, he should also be made a peer. The inducement thus 
held out by his Majesty removed Lady Mary's scruples, and James 
was as good as his word. He created the Earl Lord Cardross, 
bestowing upon him at the same time the barony of that name, with 
the unusual privilege of authority to assign both the barony and the 
title to any of his sons whom he might choose. The Earl was 
the father of three peers, and the father-in-law of four powerful 
earls. Lady Mary Stewart bore him five sons and four daughters. 
The eldest of these, Sir James Erskine, married Mary Douglas, 
Countess of Buchan in her own right, and was created Earl of 
Buchan. The second son, Henry, received from his father the title 
and the barony of Cardross. The third son, Colonel Sir Alexander 
Erskine, lost his life, along with his brother-in-law, the Earl of 

* Memoirs of the Somervi/Ies. Lord Somerville is mistaken in representing Lord 
Mar as an old man at this time. He was little more than thirty years of age. 

The Erskines. I eg 

Haddington and other Covenanting leaders, when Dunglass Castle 
was blown up in 1640 by the explosion of the powder-magazine. 
He was a handsome and gallant soldier, originally in the French 
service, and is noted as the lover whose faithlessness is bewailed in 
the beautiful and pathetic song entitled, 'Lady Anne Bothwell's 
Lament.' Sir Charles Erskine, the fourth son, was ancestor of the 
Erskines of Alva, now represented by the Earl of Rosslyn. William 
Erskine, the youngest son, was cup-bearer to Charles II., and 
Master of the Charterhouse, London. The Earl of Mar's youngest 
daughter married the eldest son of the Lord Chancellor, Thomas 
Hamilton, first Earl of Haddington — ' Tarn o' the Cowgate.' When 
King James heard of the intended marriage, knowing well the 
great ability, and the ' pawkiness ' of the two noblemen who were 
thus to be brought into close alliance, he exclaimed in unfeigned, 
and not altogether groundless, alarm, * Lord, haud a grupp o' me. 
If Tarn o' the Cowgate' s son marry Jock o' the Sclaits' daughter, 
what will become o' me ! ' 

It is a curious confirmation of his Majesty's apprehensions that, in 
1624, the other nobles complained that the Earls of Mar and 
Melrose (the Lord-Chancellor's first title), wielded all but absolute 
power in the State. The former, it was said, disposed of the King's 
revenue, and the other ruled in the Council, and Court of Session, 
each according to his pleasure. 

The Earl died at Stirling Castle, 14th December, 1634, at the age 
of seventy-seven, and was interred at Alloa. Scott of Scotstarvit 
says of his death, ' His chief delight was in hunting ; and he pro- 
cured by Act of Parliament that none should hunt within divers 
miles of the King's house. Yet often that which is most pleasant 
to a man is his overthrow ; for, walking in his own hall, a dog 
cast him off his feet and lamed his leg, of which he died : and, at 
his burial, a hare having run through the company, his special 
chamberlain, Alexander Stirling, fell off his horse and broke his 

It is said that there are some of the descendants of the Lord 
Treasurer who, on account of this casualty, are to this day chary of 
meeting an accidental hare. 

From this period the decay of the family began, and steadily 
proceeded in its downward course till it reached its lowest position in 
1 7 15, when they were subjected, in consequence of the part which 
they took in the Great Civil War, to sequestrations and heavy fines. 

IIO The Great Historic Families 0/ Scotland. 

John, the eighth Earl of Mar of the name of Erskine, however, 
entered on life with every prospect of a prosperous career. He was 
invested with the Order of the Bath in 16 10, was nominated one of 
the Extraordinary Lords of Session, sworn a privy councillor in 
1615, and was, at the same time, appointed Governor of Stirling- 
Castle. But, in 1638, he was deprived of the command of the 
castle, which Charles I. conferred on General Ruthven, afterwards 
Earl of Forth, whom he had recalled from the Swedish service at 
the time when he was resolved to suppress the Covenant by force. 
The same year the Earl was made to sell to the King the sheriff- 
ship of Stirling, and the bailiery of the Forth, for the sum of ,£8,000 
sterling. He obtained a bond for the money in 1641, but it is 
doubtful whether any part of it was ever paid. Mar at first supported 
the Covenanters, but when their policy became apparent, he signed 
the Cumbernauld Bond, along with the Earl of Montrose and other 
nobles, to support the King. His property was, in consequence, 
sequestered by the Estates. In 1638 he sold the barony of Erskine, 
the most ancient possession of the family, to Sir John Hamilton of 
Orbiston, in order to clear off the heavy incumbrances on his other 
estates ; and he is said to have lost in the Irish rebellion some 
lands which he had purchased in Ireland. He died in 1654. His 
eldest son — ■ 

John, the ninth Earl, before he succeeded to the family titles 
and estates, commanded the Stirlingshire regiment in the army of 
the Covenanters, raised in 1644, for the purpose of resisting the 
threatened invasion of Scotland by Charles I. But in the following 
year, along with his father, he joined the Cumbernauld association, 
for the defence of the royal cause. This step, while it deeply 
offended the Covenanters, did not secure him protection from the 
Royalist forces; for, in 1645, the Irish kernes in the army of Mont- 
rose plundered the town of Alloa, and the estates of the Earl of 
Mar in the vicinity of that town. Notwithstanding this outrage, 
the Earl and his son gave a handsome entertainment to Montrose 
and his officers, and, by this exercise of hospitality, so highly 
incensed the Earl of Argyll, the leader of the Covenanters, that he 
threatened to burn the castle of Alloa. After the battle of Kilsyth 
(15th August, 1645) Lord Erskine joined the victorious Royalist 
army, and was present at their ruinous defeat at Philiphaugh on 
the 13th September following, but escaped from the battlefield, and 

The Erskines. 1 1 1 

was sent by Montrose on the forlorn attempt to raise recruits in 
Braemar. The Estates, in consequence, fined him 24,000 marks, and 
caused his houses of Erskine and Mar to be plundered. On suc- 
ceeding his father, in 1654, the Earl's whole estates were sequestrated 
by the orders of Cromwell, and he was so completely ruined that he 
lived till the Restoration in a small cottage, at the gate of what had 
been his own mansion, Alloa House. To add to his misfortunes 
and sufferings, he lost his eyesight. His estates were restored to 
him by Charles II. in 1660; but the family never recovered from 
the heavy losses to which they had been subjected during the Civil 
War. The unfortunate nobleman died in September, 1688, just in 
time to escape witnessing the ruin of that royal house for which he 
had suffered so much. His Countess, Lady Mary Maule, eldest 
daughter of the second Earl of Panmure, bore him eight sons and 
one daughter. Five of his sons died young. The second son was 
James Erskine of Grange, Lord Justice Clerk. The third was 
Lieutenant-Colonel Henry Erskine, who was killed at the battle of 
Almanza in 1707. The eldest — 

John, eleventh Earl of the Erskine family, was the well-known 
leader of the Jacobite rebellion in 1 7 1 5 . He found the family estates 
much involved, and joined the Whig party then in power under the 
Duke of Oueensberry, merely because it was his interest to do so. 
He received from them the command of a regiment of foot, and was 
invested with the Order of the Thistle. In 1704, when the Whigs 
went out of office, Mar paid court to the Tory party, their successors, 
and contrived to impress them with the belief that he was a trust- 
worthy friend of the exiled family. When the Whigs came once 
more into power he gave them his support, and assisted in pro- 
moting the Union between England and Scotland. As a reward for 
his services he was appointed Secretary of State for Scotland, and 
was chosen one of the sixteen representative peers. But finding 
that he had lost the good opinion of his countrymen by supporting 
the Union, which was very unpopular in Scotland, he endeavoured 
to regain their favour by voting for the motion in the House of Lords 
for the dissolution of the Union, which was very nearly carried. On 
the dismissal of the Whig ministry in 17 13, Mar, without scruple or 
shame, went over to their opponents, and was again appointed 
Secretary of State, and manager for Scotland. These repeated 
tergiversations rendered him notorious even among the loose-prin- 


The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

cipled politicians of his own day, and gained him in his native 
country the nickname of ' Bobbing John.' 

On the death of Queen Anne, the Earl of Mar, as Secretary of 
State, signed the proclamation of George L, and in a letter to the 
new sovereign made earnest protestations of ardent loyalty and 
deep attachment, accompanied by a reference to his services to the 
country. He also procured a letter to be addressed to himself by 
the chiefs of the Jacobite clans, declaring that they had always been 
ready to follow his directions in serving the late queen, and that they 
were equally ready to concur with him in serving the new sovereign. 
George, however, was quite well aware of the double part which the 
Karl *had acted, and on presenting himself to the King on his 
arrival at Greenwich he was left unnoticed, and eight days after 
he was dismissed from office. 

Deeply mortified at this treatment, Mar resolved upon revenge, 
and entered into correspondence with the disaffected party in Scot- 
land, with the view of exciting an insurrection against the reigning 
family. He attended a court levee on the ist of August, 17 15, and 
next morning he set out for Scotland to raise the standard of rebel- 
lion against the King to whom he just paid homage. Accompanied 
by Major-General Hamilton and Colonel Hay, the Earl, disguised 
as an artisan, sailed in a coal-barge from London to Newcastle. He 
hired a vessel there which conveyed him and his companions to the 
coast of Fife, and landed them at the small port of Elie. He spent 
a few days in that district among the Jacobite gentry, with whom he^ 
made arrangements to join him in the North. On the 17th of 
August he left Fife, and with forty horse proceeded to his estates 
in Aberdeenshire, sending out by the way invitations to a great 
hunting match in the forest of Braemar, on the 25th of that month. 
On the day appointed the leading Jacobite noblemen and chiefs 
assembled, attended by a few hundreds of their vassals, and after a 
glowing address from Mar, denouncing the usurping intruder who 
occupied the throne, and holding out large promises of assistance 
from France in both troops and money, they resolved to take up 
arms on behalf of the exiled Stewart family. Accordingly, on the 
6th of September, the Jacobite standard was unfurled at Castletown, 
in Braemar. 

The fiery cross was sent through the Highlands, summoning every 
man capable of bearing arms to repair with all speed to the camp of 
the Jacobite leader. Mar's own tenants and vassals showed great 

The Erskines. 1 1 3 

reluctance to take part in the enterprise. There is a very instructive 
letter sent by him to the bailie of his lordship of Kildrummie, in 
which he complains bitterly that so few of his retainers had volun- 
tarily repaired to his standard. 'It is a pretty thing,' he said, 
' when all the Highlands of Scotland are now rising upon their King 
and country's account, that my men should be only refractory,' and 
he threatened that should they continue obstinate, their property 
should be pillaged and burned, and they themselves treated as 
enemies. The clansmen of the Highland chiefs, however, repaired with 
more alacrity to the ' standard on the braes of Mar ; ' the Earl was 
soon at the head of an army of twelve thousand men, and almost the 
whole country to the north of the Tay was in the hands of the insur- 
gents. Mar, however, was totally unfit to head such an enterprise. 
Though possessed of great activity and a plausible address, he 
was fickle, vacillating, infirm of purpose, ' crooked in mind and 
body,' and entirely ignorant of the art of war. He wasted much 
precious time lingering in the Highlands, and when at length he 
made up his mind to descend into the Lowlands, he found that 
the Duke of Argyll had taken up a position at Stirling which 
blocked his march. The two armies encountered at Sheriffmuir, 
near Dunblane, on the 13th of November, 17 15, and though the 
result w T as a drawn battle, the advantages of the contest remained 
with the Duke. The march of the insurgents into the low 
country was permanently arrested. Mar retreated to Perth ; his 
army rapidly dwindled away ; and though joined by the Chevalier 
in person, who created him a duke, he was at last fain to retreat 
to the North, after laying waste, in the most ruthless manner, the 
country through which the royal troops must march in pursuit of the 
retreating army. The unfortunate Prince, his incompetent general, 
and several others of the leaders embarked at Montrose (February 4, 
1746) in a French ship, and sailed for the Continent, leaving their 
deluded and indignant followers to shift for themselves. The Earl 
of Mar and the Chevalier, with his attendants, landed at Waldam, 
near Gravelines, February nth. 

The Earl accompanied the Prince to Rome, and for some years 
continued to manage his affairs, ' the mock minister of a mock 
cabinet,' in the French capital, and possessed James's unlimited con- 
fidence. He entered, however, into some negotiations with the Earl 
of Stair, ambassador at the French Court, through whom he 
obtained a pension of ,£2,000 from the British Government, and 
vol. 11. 1 

114 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

£1,500 a year was allowed to his wife and daughter out of his for- 
feited estate. Mar, while revealing the secrets of James to the 
British Government, still professed to be a staunch adherent of 
the exiled family. But he was accused both of embezzling the 
money the Jacobites had raised for the promotion of their cause, and 
of betraying his master, and in the end James withdrew his confi- 
dence from him, and dismissed him from his service ; indeed, he had 
by his double-dealing forfeited the esteem and confidence of both 
parties. He died at Aix-la-Chapelle in May, 1732, regretted by 
no one. 

The Hon. James Erskine of Grange, younger brother of the 
Earl of Mar, was a very remarkable character. His memory has been 
preserved mainly in consequence of his extraordinary abduction of his 
wife. He was admitted to the Bar in July, 1705, was appointed to a 
seat on the Bench in October, 1706 — no doubt through the influence 
of his brother the Earl, who was at that time Secretary of State for 
Scotland. In 1707 he was made a Lord of Justiciary, and in 17 10 
was appointed Lord Justice-Clerk. He had contracted a violent dis- 
like to Sir Robert Walpole, and for the purpose of assisting the 
enemies of that minister in hunting him down, he offered himself a 
candidate for the Stirling Burghs. In order to exclude his vindictive 
enemy from the House of Commons, Walpole got an Act passed dis- 
qualifying judges of the Court of Session from holding a seat in 
Parliament. Grange was determined, however, not to be balked in 
his design, and he resigned his office, and was elected member for 
the Stirling district of burghs. Great expectations were entertained 
of the influence which he would exercise in the House. ' But his 
first appearance,' says Dr. Carlyle, ' undeceived his sanguine 
friends, and silenced him for ever. He chose to make his maiden 
speech on the Witches' Bill, as it was called ; and being learned in 
daemonologia, with books on which subject his library was filled, he 
made a long canting speech that set the House in a titter of 
laughter, and convinced Sir Robert that he had no need of any 
extraordinary armour against this champion of the house of Mar.' 

Carlyle speaks contemptuously of Erskine's learning and ability, 
and says he had been raised on the shoulders of his brother, the 
Earl of Mar, but had never distinguished himself. The minister of 
Inveresk, however, was too young to know him intimately, and he 
makes several erroneous statements respecting Grange's career. 

The Erskines. 1 1 5 

He was usually a member of the General Assembly, and voted with 
what Carlyle calls ' the High-flying party.' ' He had my father 
very frequently with him in the evenings,' Carlyle continues, 'and 
kept him to very late hours. They were understood to pass much of 
their time in prayer, and in settling the high points of Calvinism, 
for their creed was that of Geneva. Lord Grange was not unenter- 
taining in conversation, for he had a great many anecdotes, which 
he related agreeably, and was fair-complexioned, good-looking-, and 
insinuating. After these meetings for private prayer, however, in 
which they passed several hours before supper, praying alternately, 
they did not part without wine, for my mother used to complain of 
their late hours, and suspected that the claret had flowed liberally. 
Notwithstanding this intimacy, there were periods of half a year at a 
time when there was no intercourse between them at all. My father's 
conjecture was that at those times he was engaged in a course of 
debauchery at Edinburgh, and interrupted his religious exercises. 
For in those intervals he not only neglected my father's company, 
but absented himself from church, and did not attend the Sacrament, 
which at other times he would not have neglected for the world.' 

Mr. Erskine's wife, Lady Grange as she was called, was Rachel 
Chiesley, the daughter of Chiesley of Dairy, who shot President Lock- 
hart, 31st March, 1689, i n tne Old Bank Close, Lawnmarket, Edin- 
burgh, in consequence of a decision given by him in an arbitration, that 
Chiesley was bound to make his wife and family an allowance. There 
can be no doubt that there was madness in her family, and the lady 
was a confirmed drunkard. She had been very beautiful, but had a 
most violent temper, and, becoming jealous of her husband, she em- 
ployed spies to watch him when he visited London, and is said to 
have often boasted of the family to which she belonged, hinting 
that she might one day follow her father's example. Her husband 
declared that his life was hourly in danger from her outrageous 
conduct, and that she slept with deadly weapons under her pillow. 
According to Wodrow, 'she intercepted her husband's letters in the 
post-office, and would have palmed treason upon them, and took 
them to the Justice Clerk, as is said, and alleged that some phrases 
in some of her lord's letters to Lord Dun, related to the Pretender, 
without the least shadow for the inference.' Carlyle says her hus- 
band ' had taken every method to soothe her. As she loved 
command, he had made her factor upon his estate, and given her 
the whole management of his affairs. When absent he wrote her 

u6 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

the most flattering letters, and did what was still more flattering- : he 
was said, when present, to have imparted secrets to her which, if 
disclosed, might have reached his life. Still she was unquiet, and 
led him a miserable life.' Though she had agreed, in 1730, to accept 
a separate maintenance, with which she would be satisfied, she still 
continued to persecute and annoy her husband in the most violent 

The outrageous conduct and alarming threats of this wretched 
woman at length caused Grange to take measures for her con- 
finement in a remote and solitary spot in the Highlands. On the 
evening of 22nd January, 1732, Lady Grange, who was living 
in lodgings next door to her husband's house, was seized and 
gagged by a number of Highlandmen who had been secretly 
admitted into her residence. She was carried off by night journeys 
to Loch Hourn, on the west coast Highlands, and was thence 
transported to the small and lonely island of Hesker, where she 
remained five years. She was then conveyed to St. Kilda, where 
she was detained for seven years more, and ultimately to Harris, 
where she died in 1745. It was not till 1740 that some rumours 
got abroad respecting her abduction, and the wretched condition 
in which she was kept, but no effective measures were taken for 
her release. She affirmed that the men who carried her off wore 
Lo vat's livery — probably meaning his tartan — and that Lovat himself 
had an interview at Stirling with the person in charge of her captors 
to make arrangements for her journey. Though that consum- 
mate villain denied the charge in the most vehement terms, 
there can be little or no doubt that it was true. ' As to that story 
about Lord Grange,' he said, ' it is a much less surprise to me, 
because they said ten times worse of me when that damned woman 
went from Edinburgh than they say now ; for they said it was all 
my contrivance, and that it was my servants that took her away ; 
but I defied them then, as I do now, and do declare to you upon 
honour that I do not know what has become of that woman, where 
she is, or who takes care of her ; but if I had contrived, and assisted, 
and saved my Lord Grange from that devil who threatened every 
day to murder him and his children, I would not think shame of it 
before God or man.' 

The Laird of M'Leod, to whom the island of St. Kilda belonged, 
wasi believed to have been Lovat' s accomplice in this lawless deed. 
' What was most extraordinary,' says Carlyle, ■ was that, except in 

The Erskines. 1 1 7 

conversation for a few weeks only, this enormous act, committed in 
the midst of the metropolis of Scotland, by a person who had been 
Lord Justice-Clerk, was not taken the least notice of by any of her 
own family, or by the King's Advocate, or Solicitor, or any of the 
guardians of the laws. Two of her sons were grown up to manhood ; 
her eldest daughter was the wife of the Earl of Kintore; they ac- 
quiesced, in what they considered as a necessary act of justice, for the 
preservation of their father's life. Nay, the second son was sup- 
posed to be one of the persons who came masked to the house, and 
carried her off in a chair to the place where she was set on horse- 

A curious paper, written partly by Lady Grange, partly by the 
minister of St. Kilda, found its way to Edinburgh, and fell into the 
hands of Mr. William Blackwood, the well-known publisher. It was 
purchased by John Francis, Earl of Mar, and, along with some 
letters from that lady, was presented to the Marquis of Bute. This 
interesting document, which is dated January 21st, 1746, gives a 
long and minute account of Lady Grange's abduction, and of the 
treatment which she received from her captors and successive 
custodians, which bears the stamp of truth. It was published in the 
Scots Magazine for November, 18 17, by a gentleman who had 
obtained a copy of the paper. 

Grange left a diary, a portion of which was printed in 1834, under 
the title, ' Extracts from the Diary of a Member of the College of 

The forfeited estates of the Jacobite Earl of Mar were purchased 
from the Government by Erskine of Grange. His two eldest sons 
died young. James, the third son, an Advocate, was appointed 
Knight-Marischal of Scotland in 1758. He married his cousin, 
Lady Frances Erskine, only daughter of the Jacobite Earl of Mar, 
and died in 1785, leaving two sons. The Mar titles were restored 
by Act of Parliament to the elder son, John Francis Erskine, in 
1824. They are now possessed, along with the estates, by a 
descendant of his younger son. Walter Henry Erskine, Earl 
of Mar and Kellie. {See Ancient Earldom of Mar.] 


HE Earldom of Buchan is one of the most ancient dignities 
in Scotland. It was held in the time of William the Lion 
by a chief named Fergus, of whom nothing- is known 
except that he made a grant of a mark of silver annually 
to the abbey of Aberbrothwick, which was founded by King William. 
His only daughter, Marjory, Countess of Buchan in her own right, 
married, a.d. 1210, William Comyn, Sheriff of Forfar, and Justiciary 
of Scotland, who became Earl of Buchan in right of his wife. Their 
son, Alexander Comyn, who inherited their title and estates, took 
a prominent part in public affairs during the reigns of Alexander II. 
and Alexander III. The Comyns were at this time among the most 
powerful families in the kingdom and were the leaders of the national 
party, in opposition to the English faction, who, even at that early 
period, sought to make the welfare of Scotland subservient to the 
interests of England. Earl Alexander was one of the guardians of 
Scotland after the death of Alexander III., and, like his father, held 
the office of Great Justiciary. He died in 1289, and was succeeded 
by his son, John Comyn, who was Chief Constable of the kingdom. 
When the War of Independence broke out, the Earl of Buchan joined 
the English party. He seems to have cherished an intense hatred 
of Robert Bruce, on personal as well as family grounds, and received 
from King Edward a grant of Bruce's lordship of Annandale. In 
1 308 he collected a large army for the purpose of resisting Bruce's in- 
vasion of Buchan, where the Comyns ruled with almost regal authority; 
but he was defeated with great slaughter at Old Meldrum, and his 
estates were laid waste with fire and sword. The power of the great 
house of Comyn was completely broken down by this overthrow, and 
the ' harrying' of Buchan which followed : their estates were confis- 

The Erskines of Buchan and Cardross. 119 

cated, and their very name almost disappeared from the roll of the 
Scottish nobility. The wife of Earl John, a daughter of the Earl of 
Fife, was the high-spirited lady who placed the crown on the head of 
Robert Bruce, in virtue of a privilege which, since the time of Mal- 
colm Canmore, had belonged to her family. 

In 137 1 a grant of the dormant earldom of Buchan was made by 
Robert III. to Sir Alexander Stewart, his fourth son by his first 
wife, Elizabeth Mure, who, on account of his savage character and 
conduct, was designated ' the Wolf of Badenoch,' the district of which 
he was lord. He also obtained the earldom of Ross for life, in right 
of his wife. In the year 1390 he invaded the district of Moray, in 
revenge of a quarrel with the bishop of that see, and besides ravaging 
the country, he plundered and profaned the cathedral of Elgin, which 
he afterwards set on fire, reducing that noble edifice, with the 
adjoining religious houses, and the town itself, to a mass of blackened 
ruins. He was subsequently obliged to do public penance for this 
crime in the Blackfriars church of Perth, and to make full satisfac- 
tion to the bishop. 

At the death of this savage noble, in 1394, the earldom devolved 
upon his brother, Robert, Duke of Albany ; but in 1408, as Regent, 
he conferred the title upon Sir John Stewart, his second son. In 
14 19, with consent of the Estates, the Earl was sent with an army 
of seven thousand men to the assistance of the French king in his 
contest with England for his crown. These auxiliaries won great 
renown under the leadership of Buchan, and rendered important 
services to the French in their struggle for independence. On the 
22nd of March, 142 1, they defeated, at Beauge, a large English 
force, under the Duke of Clarence, brother of Henry V. Fourteen 
hundred men, along with the Earl of Kent and Lords Gray and 
Ross, fell in this encounter. Clarence himself was unhorsed and 
wounded by Sir William Swinton, and, as he strove to regain his steed, 
he was felled to the earth and killed by the mace of the Earl of 
Buchan. As a reward for this signal victory the Dauphin conferred 
upon Buchan the high office of Constable of France. Three years 
later, however, the Scottish auxiliaries were almost annihilated at 
the fatal battle of Verneuil, and their commander, the Earl of 
Buchan, was among the slain. He married Lady Elizabeth Douglas, 
daughter of Archibald, fourth Earl of Douglas and Duke of Tou- 
raine, by whom he had an only daughter, who became the wife of 
George, second Lord Seton. The earldom of Buchan devolved upon 

120 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

his brother, Murdoch, Duke of Albany, at whose execution, in 1425, 
it was forfeited to the Crown. 

The title remained dormant for forty-one years, but in 1466 it 
was bestowed on James Stewart, surnamed ' Hearty James,' the 
second son of Sir James Stewart, the Black Knight of Lorn, by Lady 
Jane Beaufort, widow of James I. The new Earl was consequently 
uterine brother to James II. He was appointed High Chamberlain 
of Scotland in 147 1, and two years later he was sent on an embassy 
to France. His son and grandson were successively Earls of Buchan. 
John, Master of Buchan, eldest son of the latter, fell at the battle of 
Pinkie, in 1547, leaving an only child, Christian, who became Countess 
of Buchan in her own right. She married Robert Douglas, second 
son of Sir Robert Douglas of Lochleven, uterine brother of the 
Regent Moray. He obtained the title of Earl of Buchan in right of 
his wife. Their only son, James, became fifth Earl of Buchan of this 
family, and died in 1601, at the early age of twenty-one. He left an 
only child, Mary Douglas, who succeeded to the title and estates ; 
and by her marriage with James Erskine, son of John, seventh Earl of 
Mar, carried the earldom into the Erskine family. Her household 
book, which contains numerous items, such as ' to a poor minister 
who bemoanet his poverty to my lady,' shows that she was extremely 
generous to the poor. Not even ' ane masterfull beggar, who did 
knock at the gate, my lady being at table,' nor ' ane drunken beggar, 
who fainit he was madd,' was sent empty away. 

There is nothing worthy of special notice in the life of James 
Erskine, sixth Earl, or of his son and grandson, the seventh and 
eighth Earls. The latter, who at the Revolution adhered to the 
cause of King James, was committed a prisoner to the castle of 
Stirling, where he died unmarried in 1695. 

The death of Earl William opened the succession to the title and 
estates of Buchan to David, fourth Lord Cardross, a descendant 
of the third son of the Lord Treasurer, Earl of Mar. 

We have seen how the barony of Cardross was bestowed upon the 
Earl by James VI., in fulfilment of a promise made by him to Lady 
Mary Stewart, the Earl's second wife. It was formed out of the 
abbacies of Dryburgh and Cambuskenneth, and the priory of Inch- 
mahome, which, as the charter sets forth, ( have bene in all tyme 
heretofore commounlie disponit be his ma teis predecessors to sum 
that were cum of the hous of Erskeyne.' The allusion is to Adam 
Erskine, Commendator of Cambuskenneth, natural son of Thomas, 

The Erskines of Buchan and Cardross. i 2 1 

Master of Erskine, and to David, first Abbot, and afterwards Com- 
mendator of Dryburgh, natural son of Robert, Master of Erskine, 
killed at Pinkie (elder brother of Thomas). Lord Erskine' s third 
son John was ' Commendator of Inschemachame.'* 

The charter enumerates in detail the services of the Earl of Mar, 
and the fidelity ' quhairof he, and his umquhile father, gaif evident 
and manifest pruif and experience in their worthie, memorable, and 
acceptable panes and travelles tane be them in the educatoun of his 
majestie's most royal persone fra his birth to his pfyte Age ; and in 
the lyk notable service done be ye said Erie himself, in the educatoun 
of his ma teis darest sone ye Prince.' The charter also invests the 
Earl with the unique right of conferring the title on any of his male 
descendants he might think fit. His eldest son was of course heir to 
the earldom of Mar, and the second, by his marriage, had already 
become Earl of Buchan. The Lord Treasurer therefore bestowed 
this dignity in his lifetime on his third son, Henry. 

David, second Lord Cardross, his son, was one of the Scottish 
peers who protested against the delivering up of Charles I. to the 
English army at Newcastle in 1646. His younger son. the Hon. 
Colonel John Erskine of Cardross, was father of John Erskine, the 
author of the well-known ' Institutes of the Law of Scotland,' and his 
grandson was the celebrated Dr. John Erskine, Minister of Grey- 
friars Church, Edinburgh, of whom Sir Walter Scott has given a 
graphic portrait in ' Guy Mannering.' Henry, third Lord Car- 
dross, his eldest son by his first wife, Anne, daughter of Sir Thomas 
Hope, King's Advocate, was an eminent patriot, and one of the most 
prominent opponents of the Duke of Lauderdale's arbitrary and 
oppressive administration. He succeeded to the family title and 
estates in 1671, and married Katherine, second daughter and ulti- 
mately heiress of Sir James Stewart of Strathbrock (or Uphall) and 
Kirkhill, in Linlithgowshire. In consequence of his support of the 
cause of civil and religious liberty, his lordship underwent long and 
severe persecution. In the statement laid before the King of the 
sufferings he endured it is mentioned that in August, 1675, ^ e was 
fined by the Scottish Privy Council the sum of ^1,000, for the 
offence of his lady's having divine worship performed in his own 
house, by his own chaplain, when Lord Cardross was not present. He 
was further fined by the Council in ^ 1 1 2 10s. for his tenants having 
* Henry Erskine, his Kinsfolk and Times. By Lieut.-Col. Ferguson. 

122 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

attended two conventicles. He was imprisoned in the castle of Edin- 
burgh for four years, and while a prisoner there was fined, in August, 
1677, in the sum of ^"3,000, the half of his valued rent, for his lady 
having, without his knowledge, had a child baptised by a Noncon- 
forming minister. A garrison was fixed in his house in 1675 > an d 
in June, 1679, the royal forces, on their march to the west, went two 
miles out of their road, in order that they might be quartered on Lord 
Cardross's estates of Kirkhill and Uphall. 

In July of that year his lordship was released from prison on 
giving a bond for the amount of his fine, and early in 1680 he went 
up to London to lay his case before the King. He pleaded the hard- 
ships he had endured, the loyalty of his family, the protest of his 
father against the surrender of King Charles ; the assistance which 
he gave in promoting the 'Engagement,' in 1648, for the relief of 
that monarch ; the consequent infliction upon him of a fine of 
^1,000 by Cromwell, and of a fine of a similar amount imposed on 
the family represented by his wife, and the injury done to his houses 
and estates. But he obtained no redress, and feeling that it was 
hopeless to expect justice from the King and his worthless councillors, 
he resolved to leave the country, and accordingly proceeded to North 
America, where he founded a plantation at Charleston Neck, South 
Carolina. In a few years, however, he and the other colonists were 
driven from the settlement by the Spaniards, many of them being 
killed, and their property destroyed. 

On his return to Europe, Lord Cardross took up his residence at 
the Hague, where Lords Stair and Melville, Sir Patrick Hume of 
Polwarth, Sir James Stewart of Coltness, Fletcher of Saltoun, and 
other Scottish exiles, were at that time settled, anxiously waiting for 
better times. He accompanied William of Orange to England in 
1688, and in the following year raised a regiment of dragoons for 
the support of his cause. An Act was passed by the Scottish Parlia- 
ment restoring Lord Cardross to his estates. He was also sworn a 
Privy Councillor, and was appointed Governor of the Mint. He died 
at Edinburgh in May, 1693, in the forty- fourth year of his age. 

David Erskine, his eldest son, fourth Lord Cardross, succeeded 
to the title of Earl of Buchan on the death, in 1695, of William 
Erskine, the eighth Earl. There appears to have been some question 
respecting the succession, but ultimately, in 1698, an Act was passed 
by the Estates allowing him to be called in Parliament, with the title 

The Erskines of Buchan and Cardross. 1 2$ 

of Earl of Buchan. He married Frances Fairfax, daughter and 
heiress of Henry Fairfax of Hurst, Berkshire, and grand-daughter of 
Lord Fairfax. She was also grand-daughter of the celebrated Sir 
Thomas Brown, author of the ' Religio Medici,' her mother, Anne 
Brown, being his eldest daughter.* Lady Frances Erskine, their 
second daughter, married the celebrated Colonel Gardiner, ' a 
gallant soldier and high-minded Christian gentleman.' Of his 
wife the Colonel said ' that the greatest imperfection he knew in 
her character was that she valued and loved him much more than he 
deserved.' She was the friend of her neighbour, the Rev. Robert 
Blair, minister of Athelstaneford, and author of the well-known 
poem entitled ' The Grave.' 

Henry David, tenth Earl of Buchan, married Agnes Stewart, 
daughter of Sir James Stewart of Coltness, Solicitor-General for 
Scotland, and of his wife, the witty and beautiful Anne Dalrymple, 
daughter of Sir Hew Dalrymple, of North Berwick, President of the 
Court of Session. Lady Buchan was the grand-daughter of Sir James 
Stewart of Goodtrees, Lord Advocate to King William, and Oueen 
Anne, popularly designated " Jamie Wylie," on account of his crafty 
character and shifty conduct. The Earl and his wife were strict 
Presbyterians. His grandson describes him as ' a zealously religious 
man, strong in his anti-Roman convictions, though he inclined in 
a great way towards the Stewarts.' He was a man of great good- 
nature and polite manners, but of moderate abilities. His wife, 
however, was a woman of great intellect, which she had diligently 
cultivated. She had studied mathematics under the famous Colin 
Maclaurin, the friend of Sir Isaac Newton — a rare accomplishment 
at that time. She also possessed an elegant taste with a brilliant 
imagination, and, above all, an eminent and earnest piety. Her lady- 
ship had also the reputation of being a notable manager — an acquire- 
ment greatly needed in the narrow circumstances of the family. The 
ample patrimony which at one time belonged to the heads of the 
house of Erskine had been greatly diminished, partly by mismanage- 
ment, and neglect of economy, partly through the losses sustained 

* In a supplementary chapter to Sir Thomas Brown's biography there is this 
singular statement : ' It is very remarkable that although Sir Thomas Brown had forty 
children and grandchildren, yet in the second generation, within thirty years or his 
decease, the male line became extinct ; in the third generation none survived their 
infancy, excepting in the family of the eldest daughter, Anne, of whose eight children 
none left any descendants but the third daughter, Frances Fairfax, married to the Earl 
of Buchan.' 

124 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

by Lord Cardross during- the time of the ' Persecution.' About the 
year 1745 Lord Buchan had been obliged to sell the estate of Car- 
dross to his cousin of Carnock, so that the Linlithgowshire estates 
alone remained in his possession. But though his income was small 
for a person of his rank and position, it was sufficient, ' with the 
careful economy practised by Lady Buchan, for comfort, in accord- 
ance with the primitive notions of those days.' The Earl had quitted 
his seat in the country, and had taken up his residence in a flat at 
the head of Gray's Close, in the High Street of Edinburgh. His 
house, however, was frequented not only by the most eminent divines 
of the city, but by judges and leading advocates, and by members 
of other noble though not wealthy families, who came to partake 
of ' a cosy dish of tea,' which was at that time the usual form of 
social entertainment.* 

In the beginning of the year 1762, Lord Buchan and his family 
removed to St. Andrews, where house-rent was lower, living cheaper, 
and education no way inferior to that of Edinburgh. They did 
not remain long, however, in this quiet retreat, for towards the end 
of 1763 the family took up their residence at Bath, where they 
became intimate with the Countess of Huntingdon, Whitfield, and 
other distinguished members of the Methodist connexion. The Earl 
died there in 1768, and was succeeded by his eldest son — 

David Stewart Erskine, eleventh Earl of Buchan, born in 
1742. He was educated at the University of Glasgow, was for a 
short time in the army, next tried the diplomatic profession, under 
the great Lord Chatham (then Mr. Pitt), and in 1766 was appointed 
Secretary to the British Embassy in Spain. He did not, however, 
proceed to Madrid, and it was reported at the time that he declined 
to do so because the ambassador, Sir James Gray, was a person of 
inferior social rank. According to Horace Walpole, the father of 
Sir James was first a box-keeper, and then a footman to James VII. 
Boswell mentions that in discussing the merits of this question with 
Sir Alexander Macdonald, Dr. Johnson observed that, perhaps, in 
point of interest the young lord did wrong, but in point of dignity 
he did well. Sir Alexander held that Lord Cardross was altogether 
wrong, and contended that Mr. Pitt meant it as an advantageous 
thing to him. ' Why, sir,' said Johnson, ' Mr. Pitt might think it an 

* Colonel Ferguson has shown that Lord Campbell, in his Life of Lord Erskine, has 
greatly exaggerated the poverty of the Earl of Buchan at this time. 

The Erskines of BucJian and Cardross. 125 

advantageous thing for him to make him a vintner, and get him all 
the Portugal trade ; but he would have demeaned himself strangely 
had he accepted of such a situation. Sir, had he gone as secretary- 
while his inferior was ambassador, he would have been a traitor to 
his rank and his family.' * Mr. Croker has justly remarked upon 
this discussion, ' If this principle were to be admitted, the young 
nobility would be excluded from all professions, for the superiors in 
the professions would frequently be their inferiors in personal rank. 
Would Johnson have dissuaded Lord Cardross from entering on 
the military profession, because at his outset he must have been 
commanded by a person inferior in personal rank ? ' Professor 
Rouet, however, wrote to his cousin, Baron Mure, ' Cardross does 
not go to Spain because of the bad state of his father's health.' 
But it must be admitted that the other reason alleged for declining 
the office was quite in keeping with the character of the young 

Lord Cardross was present at his father's death, and figured 
prominently at his obsequies, which were performed with great 
solemnity, and elaborate ceremony. Lady Huntingdon's party took 
a great interest in the well-being of the young Earl, and Fletcher, 
Henry Venn, and the eccentric Berridge were at once appointed his 
chaplains. The name of John Wesley was subsequently added to the 
list, much to his own satisfaction. In 1 771, Lord Buchan took up his 
residence on his Linlithgowshire estate, and set himself to effect, by 
precept and example, much-needed improvements in husbandry. He 
also made vigorous efforts to induce his brother nobles to act an 
independent part in the election of their sixteen representatives in 
Parliament, and to discontinue the degrading practice of voting for 
the list sent down by the Government of the day, and he succeeded 
ultimately, almost single-handed, in putting it down. He was the 
founder of the Society of Antiquaries in Edinburgh, in 1780, and 
contributed a number of papers to the first volume of their Transac- 
tions. He was able, in 1786, to buy back the small estate of Dry- 
burgh, which had of old belonged to his ancestors, with the ruined 
abbey and mansion-house, where he took up his residence for half a 
century, and performed many curious and eccentric feats. He had a 
restless propensity for getting up public fetes, one of which was an 
annual festival in commemoration of Thomson, the author of ' The 
Seasons,' at Ednam, the poet's native place. He erected, in his 

* Boswell's Life of Johnson, iii. p. 111. 

126 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

grounds at Dryburgh, an Ionic temple, with a statue of Apollo in 
the interior, and a bust of the bard surmounting the dome. Burns 
wrote a poetical address for its inauguration. He also raised a 
colossal statue of Sir William Wallace, on the summit of a steep and 
thickly planted bank above the river Tweed. It was installed with 
great ceremony. A huge curtain was drawn before the statue, 
which dropped at the discharge of a cannon, and then the Knight of 
Ellerslie was discovered with a large German tobacco-pipe in his 
mouth, which some wicked wag had placed there — to the unspeakable 
consternation of the peer, and amusement of the company. Sir 
Walter Scott used to say that when a revolution should take place, 
his first act would be to procure a cannon, and batter down this 

It has been often said that Lord Buchan took credit to himself for 
having completed, at much personal expense, the education of his 
brothers. This, however, is an entire mistake, which probably 
originated in the peculiar way in which the Earl took credit to him- 
self for the education and brilliant success of his two famous kins- 
men. He said to an English nobleman who visited him at Dry- 
burgh, ' My brothers Henry and Tom are certainly extraordinary 
men, but they owe everything to me.' This observation occasioning 
an involuntary look of surprise in his guest, he continued, 'Yes, it is 
true ; they owe everything to me. On my father's death they pressed 
me for a small annual allowance. I knew that this would have 
been their ruin, by relaxing their industry. So, making a sacrifice 
of my inclinations to gratify them, I refused to give them a farthing ; 
and they have both thriven ever since — oiving everything to me.'' 

Lord Buchan had unbounded confidence in the influence of his own 
opinion when expressed in favour of an individual or object, even 
where no reasons were assigned. He frequently gave recommenda- 
tions like the following : ' Lord Buchan begs to recommend 
Mr. Henning to the attention of his friends ; ' and he has been 
known to congratulate a youthful artist, after one or two turns with 
him in Princes Street, with assurance of success that had no firmer 
foundation than the fact that he had been seen in public with the 
modern Maecenas leaning on his arm. * 

Lord Buchan was fond of acting the part of a Maecenas, 
and, not unfrequently attempted to patronise literary men in a 
way that drew down upon him public ridicule. The story is well 

* Archibald Constable, and his Literary Correspondents, i. p. 519. 

The Erskines of Buchan and Cardross. 127 

known of his calling at Sir Walter Scott's house, in Edinburgh, 
when he was lying dangerously ill, and having been forcibly 
prevented from intruding into Scott's chamber, for the purpose of 
intorming him that he had made all necessary arrangements for the 
funeral of the great novelist at Dryburgh. ' I wished,' he said to 
James Ballantyne, ' to embrace Walter Scott before he died, and to 
inform him that I had long considered it as a satisfactory circum- 
stance that he and I were destined to rest together in the same place 
of sepulture. The principal thing, however, was to relieve his mind 
as to the arrangements of his funeral — to show him a plan which I 
prepared for the procession, and, in a word, to assure him that I 
took upon myself the whole conduct of the ceremonial at Dryburgh.' 
He then exhibited to Ballantyne a formal programme, in which, as 
may be supposed, the predominant figure was not Walter Scott, 
but David, Earl of Buchan. It had been settled, inter alia, that the 
said Earl was to pronounce an eulogium over the grave, after the 
fashion of the French Academicians in the Pere la Chaise. 

Sir Walter Scott, who was thirty years younger than the Earl, 
outlived him, and formed one of the company at his lordship's 
funeral ten years after the incident mentioned by Lockhart. Under 
date April 20th, 1829, he mentions in his diary,' Lord Buchan is dead, 
a person whose immense vanity, bordering on insanity, obscured, 
or rather eclipsed, very considerable talents. His imagination was 
so fertile that he seemed really to believe in the extraordinary 
fictions which he delighted in telling. His economy — most laudable 
in the early part of his life — when it enabled him from a small 
income to pay his father's debts — became a miserable habit, and led 
him to do mean things. He had a desire to be a great man, and a 
Maecenas — a bon marchi. The two celebrated lawyers, his brothers, 
were not more gifted by nature than I think he was ; but the 
restraints of a profession kept the eccentricity of the family in order. 
Both Henry and Thomas were saving men, yet both died very poor. 
The latter at one time possessed ^200,000 ; the other had a con- 
siderable fortune. The Earl alone has died wealthy. It is saving, 
not getting, that is the mother of riches. They all had wit. The 
Earl's was crack-brained and sometimes caustic ; Henry's was of 
the very kindest, best-humoured, and gayest sort that ever cheered 
society ; that of Lord Erskine was moody and muddish : but I never 
saw him in his best days.' * 

* Life of Sir Walter Scott, iv. p. 276, vii. p. 1S9. 

128 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

Many amusing instances have been given both of Lord Buchan's 
vanity and parsimony. He was boasting one day to the Duchess of 
Gordon of the extraordinary talents of his family, when her unscru- 
pulous Grace asked him very coolly whether the wit had not come by 
the mother, and been all settled on the younger branches. Lord 
Buchan held liberal views on political affairs ; but, in common with 
the general public, he took great offence at a famous article which 
appeared in the Edinburgh Review of October, 1808, criticising an 
account given by Don Pedro Cevellos of the French usurpations in 
Spain, and expressing the opinion that no hope could be enter- 
tained of the regeneration of that country. The Earl directed his 
servant to throw open the door of his house in George Street, 
and to lay down the number of the Review containing the offensive 
article on the innermost part of the floor of the lobby ; and then, 
after all this preparation, his lordship personally kicked the book 
out of his house to the centre of the street, where he left it to be 
trodden into the mud. He had no doubt that this open proof of 
his disapprobation would be a death-blow to the Review. 

It was one of the Earl's conceits to style anybody who was named 
' David ' his son — that is, if they were likely to be creditable to him. 
On one occasion, mentioning an able paper on optics, that had just 
been written by one of his ' sons,' a certain David Brewster, and was 
making a stir, the Earl added with impressive solemnity, 'You see I 
revised it.' * 

Lord Buchan was evidently impressed with the notion that his 
opinion upon public affairs would be prized even by the King him- 
self, so that he had no hesitation in tendering his advice to his 
Majesty as to what he should do at certain junctures in state affairs, 
or in expressing his approval of the dutiful conduct of the daughters 
of George III., grounding his right to do so, as was his wont, on his 
consanguinity to the royal family. In April, 1807, when the Ministry 
of ' All the Talents' was dismissed from office by the King, the Earl 
wrote to his Majesty requesting him ' not to accept the Great Seal 
from his brother Thomas, but to impose his command upon him to 
retain it for the service of his Majesty's subjects.' f ' This is my 
humble suit and opinion,' he adds, ' and I am sure, considering my 
consanguinity to your Majesty, and my being an ancient peer of your 
Majesty's realm, you will see it in the light my duty and fidelity to you 
inclines me to expect.' It is a curious fact that the King and Queen 

* Life of Henry Erskiuc. p. 4S5. \ Ibid. p. 493. 

The Erskines of Buchan and Cardross. 1 29 

and the Princesses always courteously and kindly acknowledged 
the letters of this eccentric old nobleman ; and the Duke of Kent, 
as his correspondence shows, cherished sincere friendship for him. 
Though the Earl was noted for his intense vanity, he was by no 
means fond of gross flattery. His natural shrewdness enabled him 
readily to notice when the proper limit of praise was overstepped. 
There is a well-known letter addressed to him by Robert Burns, 
dated 3rd February, 1787, which contains the following compli- 
mentary couplet : — 

' Praise from thy lips 'tis mine with joy to boast : 
They best can give it who deserve it most.' 

The Earl evidently thought this commendation too strong, for he 
has endorsed the letter with these words, ' Swift says, " Praise is like 
ambergris ; a little is odorous, much stinks" ' 

Lord Buchan was the author of numerous papers on historical, 
literary, and antiquarian subjects, a portion of which he collected 
and published in 181 2, under the title of ' The Anonymous and 
Fugitive Essays of the Earl of Buchan.' He died in 1829, at the 
age of eighty-seven, and was succeeded by his nephew, the son of 
Henry Erskine. 

Henry Erskine was the second son of Henry David, tenth Earl 
of Buchan, and brother of the eleventh Earl. He was born in 1746, 
and received his education at three of the Scottish universities — 
namely, St. Andrews, Edinburgh, and Glasgow, and was called to 
the Bar in 1768. He speedily attracted attention by his legal know- 
ledge, the variety and extent of his accomplishments, his eloquence, 
his wit, and his animated and graceful manner. Like his brothers 
David and Thomas, Henry Erskine early embraced Liberal prin- 
ciples, and steadfastly adhered to them through ' good report and 
bad report.' He was appointed Lord Advocate under the Coalition 
Ministry of Mr. Fox and Lord North, and it is gratifying to state 
that Henry Dundas, who had previously held that office, wrote him 
to say that though he could not approve of the change, he wished 
him all health and happiness to enjoy the office, and offered him all 
the assistance in his power in the performance of his duties. On the 
morning of the appointment Erskine met Dundas in the Outer 
House, who, observing that the latter had already resumed the 
ordinary stuff gown usually worn by advocates, he said gaily that he 
must leave off talking to go and order his silk gown, the official 
vol. 11. K 

1 30 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

robe of the Lord Advocate. ' It is hardly worth while,' said Dundas 
drily, ' for the time you will want it ; you had better borrow mine.' 
' From your readiness in making the offer,' replied Erskine, ' I have 
no doubt that the gown is a gown made to fit any party ; but 
however short my time in office may be, it shall never be said of 
Henry Erskine that he put on the abandoned habits of his predecessor.' 
He did not, however, long enjoy his new silk gown. When the 
short-lived Coalition Ministry came to an end, Mr. Erskine was 
succeeded by Mr. Hay Campbell, who became afterwards Lord 
President of the Court of Session. On resigning his gown, Erskine 
said to his successor, whose stature was not equal to his, ' My Lord, 
you must take nothing off it. for I'll soon need it again.' Mr. 
Campbell replied, ' It will be long enough, Harry, before you get it 
again.' He did get it again, but not till after twenty years had 

Henry Erskine strenuously advocated reform both in the burghs 
and in the election of members of Parliament. In consequence the 
greater part of his life was spent in ' the cold shade of opposition,' 
and there can be no doubt that his professional prospects were 
seriously injured by his steady adherence to the Whig party. As he 
was undoubtedly the foremost man of his profession in Scotland, 
he was, for eight years successively, chosen by the advocates for their 
Dean or official head; but, in 1796, he was deprived of this office 
by a majority of a hundred and twenty-three against thirty-eight, in 
consequence of having presided at a public meeting in Edinburgh, 
to petition against the continuance of the war with France. ' This 
dismissal,' says Lord Cockburn, 'was perfectly natural at a time 
when all intemperance was natural. But it was the Faculty of 
Advocates alone that suffered. Erskine had long honoured his 
brethren by his character and reputation, and certainly he lost 
nothing by being removed from the official chair. It is to the 
honour of the society, however, that out of a hundred and sixty-one 
who voted, there were thirty-eight who stood true to justice even in 
the midst of such a scene. In happier days it was regarded as 
a great honour to have belonged to that 'virtuous number of thirty- 
eight, the small but manly band of true patriots within the bosom of 
the Faculty of Advocates, who stood firm in the support of the 
Honourable Henry Erskine, when he had opposed the unconsti- 
tutional and oppressive measures of the Minister of the day.' The 
affront offered to Mr. Erskine excited a bitter feeling of resentment 

The Erskines of Buclia?i and Cardross. 1 3 1 

among the Liberal party throughout the country, and was made the 
subject of a sarcastic poem by Burns, in which he contrasted the 
qualifications of Erskine with those of his successful rival, Robert 
Dundas of Arniston, the Lord Advocate. 

1 Squire Hal besides had in this case 

Pretensions rather brassy ; 
For talents to deserve a place 

Are qualifications saucy ; 
So their worships of the Faculty, 

Quite sick of merit's rudeness, 
Chose one who should owe it all, d'ye see, 

To their gratis grace, and goodness.' 

In 1806 Henry Erskine was a second time appointed Lord 
Advocate, under the short-lived Ministry of ' All the Talents,' and 
was elected member of Parliament for the Haddington district of 
Burghs, but held office only for one year. A striking indication of 
the feelings with which he was regarded, even by those most opposed 
to his political views, occurred in 1803, when the office of Lord 
Justice-Clerk became vacant by the death of the eccentric and 
ridiculous Lord Eskgrove. It was offered to Charles Hope, who had 
succeeded Dundas as Lord Advocate, and was ultimately Lord 
President. He was one of those who had been specially put forward 
to move Henry Erskine' s dismissal from the Deanship, but 'the 
motion never cooled Erskine' s affection for Hope, and neither did it 
Hope's for Erskine,' as was shown by his generous conduct on this 
occasion. He waited upon Erskine, and informed him that if he 
would only signify his willingness to accept the office it would 
immediately be given him. But to the great regret of Erskine's 
friends, and, indeed, of the public, he declined this handsome pro- 
posal, from an apprehension that by accepting it he might appear to 
separate himself from the political party with which he had so long 

It was admitted on all hands that Henry Erskine was the very 
foremost in his profession, and as a pleader he has never been 
excelled, probably not equalled, by any member of the Scottish bar. 
Blair, afterwards the head of the Court, surpassed him in deep and 
exact legal knowledge, but Erskine excelled all his rivals in the 
variety and extent of his accomplishments and of his general 
practice. ' Others,' says Lord Cockburn, 'were skilled in one depart- 
ment, or in one court, but wherever there was a litigant, civil, criminal, 

* Cockburn's Memorials of his Time, pp. 185-6. 

I3 2 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

fiscal, or ecclesiastic, there was a desire for Harry Erskine — despair 
if he was lost, confidence if he was secured.' His sagacity, intuitive 
quickness of perception, and great argumentative powers, were 
recommended by the playfulness of his fancy, the copiousness and 
impressiveness of his language, and by the charms of his tall, elegant 
figure, his handsome intellectual countenance, his clear, sweet voice, 
and his polished and graceful manners. Add to all this his genial 
wit, delightful temper, and benevolent disposition, his private worth, 
and his unsullied public honour, and it need be no matter of surprise 
that this eminent advocate and highly gifted man was universally 
beloved and esteemed. ' Nothing was so sour,' says Lord Cockburn, 
' as not to be sweetened by the glance, the voice, the gaiety, the 
beauty of Henry Erskine.' His friend, Lord Jeffrey, re-echoed the 
sentiment, and remarked that, ' He was so utterly incapable of 
rancour, that even the rancorous felt that he ought not to be made 
its victim.' 

Henry Erskine was pre-eminently the advocate of the common 
people, and his name was a terror to the oppressor, and a tower of 
strength to the oppressed, throughout the whole of Scotland. The 
feeling with which he was regarded by this class was well expressed 
by a poor man in a remote district of the country, who, on being 
threatened by his landlord with a ruinous lawsuit, for the purpose of 
compelling him to submit to some unjust demand, instantly replied, 
with flashing eyes, 'Ye dinna ken what ye' re saying, maister. There's 
no a puir man in a' Scotland need to want a friend, or fear an enemy, 
as long as Harry Erskine is to the fore' (survives). Many of Mr. 
Erskine's don-mots (' seria commixta jocis') have been preserved, and 
show that his wit was as kindly as it was pointed. ' Harry Erskine 
was the best-natured man I ever knew,' says Sir Walter Scott, 
1 thoroughly a gentleman, and with but one fault — he could not say 
No. His wit was of the very kindest, best-humoured, and gayest 
sort that ever cheered society.' 

Mr. Erskine died 8th of October, 1817, in his seventy-first year. 
His eldest son succeeded, in 1829, to the earldom of Buchan. 

Thomas, Lord Erskine, Lord High Chancellor of England, the 
youngest son of Henry David, the tenth Earl of Buchan, was born 
at Edinburgh, 10th of January, o.s. 1749, in a house which is still 
standing, at the head of Gray's Close. It has been stated by Lord 
Campbell and others that for some years he attended the High 

The Erskines of Buchan and Cara'ross. 133 

School of his native city; but this is a mistake. Colonel Ferguson 
has shown that Thomas Erskine, along with his brothers, received 
his early education under a private tutor at Uphall, and completed it 
at St. Andrews, to which Lord Buchan removed about the year 1760.* 
He early showed a strong predilection for some learned profession, 
but his father's resources were exhausted by the expense incurred in 
educating his elder brothers, and Thomas had to enter the navy as a 
midshipman, in 1764 — an effort to procure him a commission in the 
army, which he greatly preferred, having been unsuccessful. His 
dissatisfaction with the sea-service was strengthened by experience, 
and in September, 1768, when he had reached his eighteenth year, 
he obtained a commission in the Royals, or First Regiment of Foot. 
In 1770 he married Frances, the daughter of Daniel Moore, M.P. for 
Marlow. ' However inauspiciously this marriage may be thought to 
have begun,' says Colonel Ferguson, ' it is certain that a better 
choice of a wife could hardly have been made. While they were in 
poverty, Mrs. Erskine bore it well and uncomplainingly ; and when 
her husband rose to opulence she was perfectly fit to take her share 
of the honour.' Erskine spent two years with his regiment in the 
island of Minorca, where he acquired a thorough knowledge of 
English literature, especially of Shakespeare, Milton, Dry dent and 
Pope. The chaplain of the regiment was at home on furlough, and 
Erskine acted as his substitute. At first he contented himself with 
reading the service from the Liturgy, but finding that this was by 
no means relished by the men, who were chiefly Presbyterians, he 
favoured them with an extempore prayer, and composed sermons, 
which he delivered to them with great solemnity and unction from 
the drumhead. He used always to talk of this incident in his life 
with peculiar satisfaction, and to boast that he had been a sailor and 
a soldier, a parson and a lawyer. 

In August, 1774, Thomas Erskine formed the resolution to study 
for the Bar. He was admitted a student of Lincoln's Inn in April, 
1775. During his probationary period he was frequently reduced to 
great pecuniary straits; but he bore his privations contentedly and 
cheerfully, and laboured with extraordinary industry and perseverance 
to qualify himself for his new profession. He was called to the Bar 
on the 3rd of July, 1778, and on 24th of November he made a display 
of his great legal abilities, eloquence, and courage, which placed 
him at a bound in the front rank of his profession. His first brief 

* Life of Henry Erskine, p. 60. 

134 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

was owing to an accidental meeting at dinner with Captain Baillie, 
Lieutenant-Governor of Greenwich Hospital, who, in consequence of 
his attempts to remedy some gross abuses in that establishment, was 
suspended from his office, and then prosecuted for libel, at the instiga- 
tion of the notorious Lord Sandwich, the First Lord of the Admiralty. 
Erskine was the junior of five counsel retained by Captain Baillie. A 
rule to show cause why a criminal information should not be filed 
against him had been obtained, and it was for his counsel to get that 
rule discharged. Erskine' s seniors were, of course, first heard. It 
was almost dark before their speeches were concluded, and, fortu- 
nately for the young barrister, the case was adjourned until the next 
morning. He had thus, as he said, the whole night to arrange what 
he had to say next morning, and took the Court with their faculties 
awake and freshened. The Solicitor-General, who was retained for 
the prosecution, supposing that all the defendant's counsel had been 
heard, was about to reply, in the full expectation of success, when a 
young gentleman, whose name, as well as his face, was unknown to 
almost all present, rose from the back row and modestly claimed 
his right to be heard. In a strain of matchless eloquence he 
denounced the prosecution as a disgrace to its authors, poured out 
the most cutting invectives on Lord Sandwich and the men whom he 
had employed as tools in this affair, lauded the conduct of Captain 
Baillie, who, he contended, had only discharged an important public 
duty at the risk of his office, ' from which the effrontery of power had 
already suspended him.' The interference of Lord Mansfield, who 
said Lord Sandwich was not before the Court, only served to 
increase the fierceness of Erskine's indignation against that profligate 
peer, and the vigour with which he denounced the prosecution and 
its abettors. His appeal was irresistible and his success complete. 
'I must own,' wrote Lord Campbell, 'that, all the circumstances 
considered, it is the most wonderful forensic effort of which we have 
any account in our annals. It was the debut of a barrister just called, 
and wholly unpractised in public speaking, before a court crowded 
with the men of the greatest distinction, belonging to all parties in 
the State. He came after four eminent counsel, who might be 
supposed to have exhausted the subject. He was called to order by 
a venerable judge, whose word had been law in that hall above 
a quarter of a century. His exclamation, " I will bring him before 
the Court," and the crushing denunciation of Lord Sandwich, in 
which he was enabled to persevere from the sympathy of the by- 

The Erskines of Buchan and Cardross. 135 

standers, and even of the judges, who, in strictness, ought again to 
have checked his irregularity, are as soul-stirring as anything in 
this species of eloquence presented to us either by ancient or modern 
times.' * 

Being asked how he had the courage to stand up so boldly against 
Lord Mansfield, he answered that he thought his little children were 
plucking his robe, and that he heard them saying, ' Now, father, is 
the time to get us bread.' 

This first forensic effort raised Erskine at one bound from penury 
to prosperity, thirty retainers having been put into his hands before 
he left the Court. 

In the beginning of the following year, Erskine was engaged as 
counsel in the court-martial held on Admiral Keppel, to try the 
charges brought against him by Sir Hugh Palliser, of incapacity and 
misconduct, in the battle off Ushant with a French fleet. For his 
most triumphant acquittal, after a trial which lasted thirteen days, 
Keppel was greatly indebted to his advocate, who managed the 
case with consummate skill. The grateful Admiral sent him the 
munificent present of a thousand pounds. Mr. Erskine's famous 
defence of Lord George Gordon, in 1781, when that weak and 
enthusiastic, but well-meaning young nobleman, was tried for high 
treason in the Court of King's Bench, placed him, as regards elo- 
quence, high above all the men at the Bar. His speech not only 
secured the acquittal of his client, but rendered an important service 
to the country by completely overthrowing the doctrine of construc- 
tive treason. 

After practising only five years at the Bar, Mr. Erskine obtained, 
in 1783, a patent of precedence, on the suggestion of Lord Mansfield, 
was appointed Attorney- General to the Prince of Wales, and was 
returned to Parliament for Portsmouth in the interest of Mr. Fox. 
He was not, however, so successful in the House of Commons as at 
the Bar. His reputation, as a painstaking, skilful, and eloquent 
advocate, continued to increase. His firm and courageous conduct 
in the trial of the Dean of St. Asaph for a seditious libel, in 
publishing a tract by the learned Sir William Jones, entitled him 
to the unceasing gratitude of his professional brethren, for his noble 
vindication of the independence of the Bar. Justice Buller, who 
presided at the trial, informed the jury that they had no right to 
decide whether the tract was a libel or not, and that the only ques- 

* Lives. of the Chancellors, vi. p. 396. 

136 1 he Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

tion submitted to them was whether the Dean caused it to be 
published. The jury returned a verdict of ' Guilty of publishing 
only.' Buller strove to induce them to omit the word ' only,' which 
they repeatedly refused to do, and Erskine insisted that the verdict 
should be recorded as it had been given. The judge sought to 
intimidate the young barrister in the discharge of his office. ' Sit 
down, sir,' he exclaimed. ' Remember your duty, or I shall be 
obliged to proceed in another manner.' This threat extorted the 
memorable and effective reply, ' Your lordship may proceed in what 
manner you may think fit : I know my duty as well as your lordship 
knows yours. I shall not alter my conduct.' The judges, much to 
their discredit, attempted to uphold the doctrine that the jury are 
judges only of the fact of publication, but not of the question of 
libel. But the public mind was so alarmed by the consequences 
of this decision that Parliament, without hesitation, passed, as a 
declaratory Act, the Libel Bill, introduced in 1791 by Mr. Fox, 
which established the rights of jurors in cases of libel. 

In 1789 Erskine delivered a speech on behalf of Stockdale, the 
publisher, who was tried in the Court of King's Bench, on an infor- 
mation filed by the Attorney-General, for publishing a pamphlet 
written by John Logan, the poet, animadverting on the managers of 
the impeachment against Warren Hastings. Lord Campbell says 
Erskine's speech in this case is the finest speech ever delivered at 
the English Bar, and he won a verdict which for ever established the 
freedom of the press in England. But, perhaps, the most important 
service which Mr. Erskine rendered to the cause of constitutional 
liberty was his successful defence, in conjunction with Mr. (after- 
wards Sir Vicary) Gibbs, of Hardy, Home Tooke, and Thelwall, for 
high treason, in 1794. The Government attempted, by their pro- 
ceedings in these cases, to revive the doctrine of constructive 
treason, against twelve persons who had belonged to various societies 
having for their professed object the reform of the House of 
Commons. Declining to be tried jointly, the Attorney-General, 
Sir John Scott, afterwards Lord Eldon, selected Thomas Hardy, a 
shoemaker, as the one against whom he could make the strongest 
case. He spoke nine hours in opening the case for the prosecution, 
but his efforts to procure a conviction were signally defeated, to his 
grievous mortification, by Erskine, who proved that the object of 
these societies had been advocated by the Earl of Chatham, Mr. 
Burke, Mr. Pitt himself, and the Duke of Richmond, at that time a 

The Erskines of Buchan and Cardross. 137 

member of the Government. The speech which he delivered in 
defence of Hardy was a masterpiece, and well merited the eulogium 
which Home Tooke wrote at the end of it, in a copy of Hardy's 
trial, ' This speech will live for ever.' The Ministry, instead of 
abandoning the prosecution of the others, against whom an indict- 
ment had been brought, were so infatuated as to bring John Home 
Tooke, the celebrated philologist, and John Thelwall, successively to 
trial, but met with a still more signal defeat ; and all the other 
prisoners were acquitted without any evidence being offered against 

On the conclusion of these memorable trials, the public gratitude 
for the services which Erskine had rendered to the country was 
manifested in a very striking manner. ' On the last night of the 
trials,' says Lord Campbell, ' his horses were taken from his chariot, 
amidst bonfires and blazing flambeaux, he was drawn home by the 
huzzaing populace to his house in Serjeant's Inn ; and they obeyed 
his injunctions when, addressing them from a window, with Gibbs 
by his side, he said, " Injured innocence still obtains protection from 
a British jury; and I am sure, in the honest effusions of your hearts, 
you will retire in peace, and bless God." The freedom of many 
corporations was voted to him, and his portraits and busts were sold 
in thousands all over Great Britain. What was more gratifying, his 
speeches for the prisoners were read, and applauded, by all men of 
taste. He now occupied a position as an advocate which no man 
before had reached, and which no man hereafter is ever likely to 
reach at the English Bar.' 

On the formation of the Grenville Ministry, in 1806, Erskine was 
appointed Lord High Chancellor, and was raised to the peerage, with 
the title of Baron Erskine of Restormel Castle, in Cornwall. On 
the dissolution of the Ministry, in 1807, he retired in a great degree 
from public life. He took a lead, however, in opposing the ' Orders 
in Council ' respecting neutral navigation, which he truly foretold 
would lead to a war with America. He delivered a speech, remark- 
able both for argument and eloquence, against the Bill for prohibiting 
the exportation of Jesuit's bark to the Continent of Europe. He 
introduced into the House of Lords a Bill for the Prevention of 
Cruelty to Animals, which was thrown out by the Commons, but 
was resumed and carried by other persons in the following year. In 
the memorable proceedings against the Queen, in 1820, he took a 
prominent part against the Bill of Pains and Penalties, and was 

138 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

largely instrumental in causing it to be abandoned by the Govern- 

In the latter years of his life, owing to an unfortunate purchase of 
land, and some other ill-advised speculations, Lord Erskine suffered 
considerable pecuniary embarrassment. His wife died in 1805, 
leaving four sons and four daughters ; and, an ill-assorted second 
marriage added considerably to the troubles of his old age. He died 
at Almondell, in Midlothian, the seat of his nephew, 17th November, 
1823, in the seventy-second year of his age, and was interred in the 
family burying-place at Uphall. 

Lord Erskine was conspicuous for his kindness of heart, urbanity, 
and entire freedom from envy, or jealousy of others. His vanity and 
egotism, of which many amusing stories are told, were, no doubt, 
excessive ; but they were accompanied with much bonhojnie, and were 
entirely devoid of arrogance or presumption. Posterity has ratified 
the verdict of one of his biographers, ' As an advocate in the 
forum, I consider him to be without an equal in ancient, or in modern 

Lord Erskine was succeeded by his eldest son, David Montague, 
who served his country as Minister to the United States, and at the 
Court of Wirtemberg. Thomas, his third son, ' one of the most 
amiable and upright of men,' was a judge of the Court of Common 
Pleas. Esme Stewart, the youngest, a lieutenant-colonel, was 
Deputy Adjutant-General at the battle of Waterloo, and died from 
the consequences of a severe wound, which he received from a 
cannon-shot near the end of the day, by the side of the Duke of 


HE Erskines of Kellie trace their descent from Sir Alexander 
Erskine of Gogar, a younger son of the fourth Lord 
Erskine, and brother of the Regent Mar. The title of 
Earl of Kellie was conferred by James VI., in 1619, on 
Sir Thomas Erskine, the eldest surviving son of Sir Alexander, who 
had been the King's schoolfellow, and was through life regarded 
by him with great favour. He assisted in rescuing James from the 
Ruthvens at Gowrie House, in the year 1600, and was rewarded with 
the grant of a portion of the fine estate of Dirleton, which had 
belonged to the Earl of Gowrie. Erskine accompanied James to 
England, and in 1606 was created Viscount Fenton. He received 
from the King at various times liberal grants of lands, including 
the barony of Kellie, in Fifeshire, from which his title was taken 
when he was advanced to the dignity of Earl. He died in 1639, 
and was succeeded by his grandson, Thomas, who died unmarried 
in 1643. His brother, Alexander, became third Earl. He was 
a zealous supporter of King Charles during the Great Civil War, 
was in consequence imprisoned in the Tower of London, was excepted 
from Cromwell's Act of Grace and Pardon, and deprived of nearly 
the whole of his extensive estates. He was allowed, however, to 
retire to the Continent, but returned to Scotland after the Restoration, 
and died in May, 1677. His son, Alexander, fifth Earl, took part 
in the Jacobite rebellion of 1745, and was imprisoned in the castle 
of Edinburgh for upwards of three years. He was a person of weak 
intellect, and, in all probability for that reason, was set at liberty 
without being brought to trial. He brought new talent into the 
family, however, by marrying a daughter of Dr. Pitcairne, the 
celebrated Jacobite physician, and poet. The eldest son of this 
marriage was — 

140 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

Thomas Alexander, sixth Earl, the well-known musical com- 
poser, who succeeded his father in 1756. He was a remarkably 
amiable person, and possessed a considerable share of the wit and 
humour for which both his maternal grandfather and the Erskines 
were noted ; but he is now chiefly remembered for his extraordinary 
proficiency in musical science. His convivial habits, however, which 
widely prevailed at that time, weakened his constitution, and impaired 
his property. He was obliged to dispose of the Kellie estate, retaining 
only the old castle and a few fields surrounding it. He died unmarried 
in 1781. A younger brother of this Earl was the Honourable Andrew 
Erskine, whose vers de sociite and witty conversation are still tradi- 
tionally remembered in Scotland. 

The ' Musical Earl' of Kellie was succeeded by his brother Archi- 
bald, who was an officer in the army. He was for a number of years 
one of the Scottish representative peers, and it was chiefly owing to 
his exertions that the legal restraints imposed upon the Scottish 
Episcopalians were removed. Like his brothers, he was unmarried, 
and at his death the title devolved on Sir Charles Erskine of 
Cambo. He, too, was unmarried, and was succeeded by his uncle 
Thomas, ninth Earl, who was descended from Sir Charles Erskine of 
Cambo, third son of the first earl. Thomas Erskine, who was born 
about 1745, settled as a merchant in Sweden, and was appointed in 
1775 British Consul at Gottenburg, Marstrand, and other ports on 
the western coast of that country. There was at one time seventeen 
persons between him and the family titles and estates, and yet he 
succeeded to them on the death of his nephew Charles, in 1799. In 
1 77 1 the Earl married Anne, daughter of Adam Gordon of Ardoch. 
He was elected one of the Scottish representatives when a vacancy 
occurred in 1804, and was chosen a second time at the general 
election in 1807. In the following year he was invested with the 
insignia of a knight commander of the royal Swedish Order of Vasa. 
On his death without issue he was succeeded by his brother Methven, 
tenth and last of the Earls of Kellie who enjoyed that peerage 
separately from the Earldom of Mar. In 1781 he married Joanna, 
younger daughter of Mr. Gordon ; he too died without issue in 
1829.* The title was claimed, in 1829, by the fifteenth Earl of Mar, 
as heir-male general. His right was allowed by the House of Lords, 
and the earldom is now conjoined with that of Mar. 

* See Addenda, p. 429. 


HE monkish writers allege that the Grahams can trace their 
descent from a fabulous personage called Graeme, who is 
said to have commanded the army of Fergus II. in 404, 
to have been governor of the kingdom in the monarchy of 
Eugene, and in 420 to have made a breach in the wall erected 
by the Emperor Severus between the Firth of Forth and the Clyde, 
and which was supposed to have derived from the Scottish warrior 
the name of Graeme's Dyke. The ' gallant Grahams,' as they are 
termed in Scottish ballad and song, do not require the aid of fable 
to increase their fame, for few of our great old houses have such an 
illustrious history. 

Like most of the ancient Scottish families, the Grahams are 
of Anglo-Norman origin, and they settled in Scotland during 
the twelfth century. The first of the race whose name occurs 
in the records of Scotland was a Sir William de Graeme, who 
received from David I. the lands of Abercorn and Dalkeith, which 
descended to Peter, the elder of his two sons. Peter's grandson, 
Henry, by his marriage to the heiress of the family of Avenel, 
acquired their extensive estates in Eskdale. He was one of the 
magnates Scotia who, in the Parliament of 5th February, 1283-4, 
bound themselves by their oaths and seals to acknowledge as their 
sovereign the Princess Margaret of Norway, the grand daughter of 
Alexander III., in the event of that monarch's death without male 
issue. His son, Sir Nicholas, was one of the nominees of Robert 
Bruce when, in 1292, he became a competitor for the crown. His 
grandson, Sir John de Graham of Dalkeith, who died without issue, 
was the last of the original stock of the family. His estates were 
divided between his two sisters : the elder, who married William 
More, inherited the lands of Abercorn ; the younger became 

142 The Gnat Historic Families of Scotland. 

the wife of William Douglas of Lugton, ancestor of the Earls of 
Morton, and conveyed to him Dalkeith, and the estates of the Avenels 
in Eskdale. 

The male line of the family was carried on by John, the younger 
son of Sir William de Graham. Among the muniments in the pos- 
session of the Duke of Montrose there is a charter by William the 
Lion, probably of the date of 1175. granting to David de Graham, 
second son of John, the lands of Kynnabre, Charlton, and Barrow- 
field, in the county of Forfar, and of the fishing of the Water of 

A few years later the same monarch bestowed upon Radulph 
of Graham the lands of Cousland, Pentland, and Gogger, in Mid- 
lothian. Alexander II. in 1227 confirmed a grant made by Patrick, 
Earl of Dunbar, to David de Graham (who must have been 
the son of the first- mentioned David), of the whole waste lands of 
Dundaff and Strathcarron, which was the King's forest, in exchange 
for the lands of Gretquerquer, in Galloway. 

Other extensive grants of estates were made from time to time 
to the Grahams by Alexander III., and by several great nobles 
their feudal superiors. The most noteworthy of these gifts was 
a grant by Robert Bruce, in 1325, of the lands of Old Munros, in 
the shire of Forfar, to David Graham, elder, and an exchange 
with that monarch, in 1326 or 1327, of the lands of Old Montrose 
for the lands of Cardross, in the county of Dumbarton, where the 
restorer of Scottish independence spent the last years of his life.* 

The second Sir David de Graham, who held the office of sheriff 
of the county of Berwick, was one of the national, or Comyn, 
party during the minority of Alexander II., and resolutely opposed 
the intrigues of the English faction. He obtained from Malise, 
the powerful Earl of Strathern, the lands of Kincardine, in 
Perthshire, where the chief residence of the family was henceforth 
fixed. His second son, the patriotic Sir John de Graham of Dun- 
daff, may be regarded as the first eminent member of the family. 
He is still fondly remembered as the bosom friend of the illustrious 
Scottish patriot Wallace. He was killed at the battle of Falkirk, 
July 22, 1298, fighting gallantly against the English invaders 
under Edward I., and was buried in the churchyard of that 
town. His tombstone, which has been thrice renewed, bears in the 
centre his coat-of-arms ; at the upper part, round an architectural 

* Report by William Fraser : Second Report of Commission on Historical MSS. pp. 166-7. 

The Grahams. 143 

device, is the motto, ' Vivit post funere virtus,' and at the lower part 
the following inscription : — 

' Mente manuque potens, et Vallae fidus Achates; 
Conditus hie Gramus, bello interfectus ab Anglis. 

22nd July, 1298. 

Her lys 
Sir John the Graeme, baith wight and wise, 
Ane of the chiefs reskewit Scotland thrise ; 
Ane better knight not to the world was lent, 
Nor was gude Grasme, of truth and hardiment.' 

DundafT Castle, now in ruins, stands on high ground a few miles 
from the battlefield, and commands four passes leading down in as 
many directions to the low country. It belongs to the Duke of 
Montrose, the chief of the Grahams, in whose possession there is an 
antique sword, a short, broad weapon, on which the following lines 

are inscribed : — 

' Sir John ye Groeme verry wicht and wyse, 
Ane o' ye chiefes relievet Scotland thryse, 
Fought with ys sword, and ner thout schame 
Commandit nane to beir it bot his name.' 

Sir Patrick and Sir David, the elder and the younger brothers of 
this celebrated patriot, embraced the cause of Baliol in the contest 
for the crown, and swore fidelity to Edward I. in 1292. It is pro- 
bable, however, that this act of homage was rendered under com- 
pulsion, and was disavowed on the first opportunity, for in 1296 
Sir David and his nephew were taken prisoners by the English 
monarch. They were released in the following year, on condition of 
serving under the English banner in the French wars. Sir Patrick 
fell at the mismanaged and disastrous battle of Dunbar, in 1 296. 
Hemingford, the English chronicler, says he was ' a stout knight, 
wisest among the wise in council, and among the noblest the most 

From this time downwards the Grahams have taken a prominent 
part in public, and especially in warlike, affairs. The son of Sir 
David, who bore his name, which seems to have been a favourite 
one among the early Grahams, was a zealous adherent of Robert 
Bruce, and defended the independence of his native country so 
stoutly, that he was excepted from the pacification which King 
Edward made with the Scots in 1303-4. Along with two of his 
kinsmen, he signed the famous letter to the Pope vindicating in noble 
terms the independence of Scotland. He died in 1327. It was he 

144 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

who exchanged with King Robert Bruce the estate of Cardross for 
Old Montrose. His son, also named Sir David, was taken prisoner 
with his sovereign, David II., at the battle of Durham. Sir David's 
son, Sir Patrick of Graham, was the ancestor both of the Montrose 
and Menteith Grahams. His son and successor, by his first wife, 
Sir William, carried on the main line of the family. His eldest son, 
Patrick, by his second wife, Egidia, niece of Robert II., married — 
probably about the year 1406 — Eufemea Stewart, Countess Palatine 
of Strathern, and either through courtesy of his wife, or by creation, 
became Earl Palatine of Strathern. (See Earls of Menteith.) 

The elder son of Sir William Graham by his first wife predeceased 
him, leaving two sons. By his second wife, the Princess Mary 
Stewart, daughter of Robert II., Sir William had five sons, from the 
eldest of whom descended the Grahams of Fintry, of Claverhouse, 
and of Duntrune, and the third was the ancestor of the gallant Sir 
Thomas Graham, Lord Lynedoch. Patrick Graham, Sir William's 
second son, by the Princess Mary, was consecrated Bishop of 
Brechin in 1463, and was translated to St. Andrews in 1466. He 
was a learned and virtuous prelate, worthy to succeed the illustrious 
Bishop Kennedy, his near relative — a model bishop. Anxious 
to vindicate the independence of the Scottish Church, over which the 
Archbishop of York claimed jurisdiction, he visited Rome, and pro- 
cured from the Pope a bull erecting his see into an archbishopric, 
and appointing him metropolitan, papal nuncio, and legate a latere, 
in Scotland for three years. On his return home the Archbishop 
was assailed with vindictive malignity by his ecclesiastical rivals. 
The inferior clergy rejoiced in his advancement ; but the dignitaries 
of the Church, through envy and dread of the reforms which he was 
prepared to inaugurate, became his inveterate enemies. By bribing 
the King, James III., they succeeded in obtaining the degradation 
and imprisonment of the unfortunate prelate, on the plea that he had 
infringed the royal prerogative by applying to the papal court with- 
out the King's license. It is alleged, in a report recently found in the 
Roman archives, that Graham had proclaimed himself divinely ap- 
pointed to reform ecclesiastical abuses, and had revoked indulgences 
granted at Rome, appointed legates, and had committed other similar 
illegal acts. There is reason to believe that the persecution which 
the Archbishop underwent had affected his mind. Schevez, an able, 
but unprincipled and profligate ecclesiastic, who succeeded Graham 
in the primacy, and was the leader of the hostile party, had him 

The Grahams. 145 

declared insane, and procured the custody of his person. He was 
confined first in Inchcolm, and afterwards in the castle of Loch Leven,. 
where he died in 1478. 

Sir William Graham was succeeded by his grandson, Patrick 
Graham of Kincardine, who was made a peer of Parliament in 1451, 
under the title of Lord Graham. His grandson, William, third 
Lord Graham, was created Earl of Montrose by James IV., 
3rd March, 1504-5. His title, however, was not taken from the 
town of Montrose, but from his hereditary estate of ' Auld Montrose/ 
which was then erected into a free barony and earldom. He fell at 
the battle of Flodden, 9th September, 15 13, where he and the Earl 
of Crawford commanded one of the divisions of the Scottish van- 
guard. One of the younger sons of the Earl by his third wife was 
the ancestor of the Graemes of Inchbrakie. 

William, second Earl of Montrose, held several offices of trust in 
connection with the person of the young king, James V., and his 
daughter, Queen Mary. John, third Earl, was one of the most 
powerful noblemen in Scotland in his own day, and was deeply 
involved in the plots and intrigues of the early part of the reign of 
James VI. He assisted the profligate Earl of Arran in bringing the 
Regent Morton to the block, which led to a feud between him and 
the Douglases. He twice held the office of High Treasurer of 
Scotland, and was appointed Lord Chancellor in 1599. After the 
accession of James to the throne of England, the Earl was nominated 
Lord High Commissioner to the Parliament which met at Edinburgh, 
10th April, 1604. On resigning the office of Chancellor, a patent 
was granted to him by the King, in December of that year, appoint- 
ing him Viceroy of Scotland for life, with a pension of £2, 000 Scots. 
He presided at the meeting of the Estates at Perth, 9th July, 1606, 
which passed the ecclesiastical enactments termed the Five Articles 
of Perth, so obnoxious to the Presbyterian party. At his death in 
1608, the King thought fit to order that the Earl, in consequence of 
his high position, should be buried with peculiar pomp and splen- 
dour, and promised to give forty thousand merks to cover the 
expense. But the promises of James in regard to pecuniary matters 
were not often performed. The money was never paid, and the 
costly funereal ceremonial imposed a heavy burden on the Earl's 

VOL. II. t 

146 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

John Graham, fourth Earl of Montrose, showed, by an incident 
mentioned in Bin-el's Diary, that in his youth the hot blood of the 
Grahams ran in his veins, though in his mature years he was quiet, 
peaceful, and prudent in his conduct. ' 1595, the 19th January, the 
young Earle of Montroes [at this time he was only Lord Graham] 
fought' ane combate with Sir James Sandilands at the Salt Trone of 
Edinburgh, thinking to have revengit the slauchter of his cousine, 
Mr. Johne Graham.' This Earl lived the retired life of a country 
gentleman, and seems to have been very domestic in all his habits. 
It appears from the family accounts that he amused himself with 
archery and golfing, and indulged a good deal in the use of tobacco. 
He was appointed President of the Council in July, 1626, and died 
14th November of the same year, in the prime of life. But his burial 
was not ' accompleissit ' until the 3rd of January, ' and the haill friends 
remainet in Kincardin thereafter, sateling his Lordship's affairs, 
till Soinday, the 7th of January.' An account-book which has been 
preserved shows the enormous expense that was incurred in * ac- 
compleissing' the burial, and in entertaining for eight weeks the 
array of kinsmen who had congregated in the family mansion to do 
honour to the obsequies of the deceased nobleman. They feasted 
upon ' Venison, Beif, Muttoune, Lamb, Veill, Geis, Caponis,' and 
other poultry ; and of game and wildfowl ' Capercailzies, Black 
Cokis, and Ethe henis, Termaganis, Muir foulls, Wodcoks, Peitrecks 
[partridges], Plewvers, and Birsall foulls,' in great abundance. Of 
liquors there were consumed one puncheon of ' claret wyn ' and one 
puncheon of ' quhyt wyn,' besides nine gallons of ' Ester aill.' * This 
protracted hospitality and costly mode of performing funerals may 
account for the sumptuary laws frequently enacted by the Scottish 
Estates, for the purpose of limiting the ruinous expenses incurred on 
such occasions. No less than three years' rental of the estate of the 
deceased has sometimes been spent in ' accompleissing ' his burial. 

The glory of the house of Graham is James, the fifth Earl and 
first Marquis of Montrose. His mother was Lady Margaret 
Ruthven, eldest daughter of William, first Earl of Gowrie. The 
Ruthvens were noted for their fondness for magical pursuits, and the 
mother of the great marquis seems to have partaken of the family 
superstition. Scot of Scotstarvit asserts that she ' consulted with 
witches at his birth.' She predeceased the Earl, leaving an only 

* Memorials of Montrose, i. p. 151. 

The Grahams. 147 

son and five daughters. Her husband bears affectionate testimony 
to her worth and beauty, and says of her she was 'a woman religi- 
ous, chaste, and beautifull, and my chiefe joy in this world.' 

The young Earl was only fourteen years of age at the time of his 
father's death, in 1626. Two years previously he had been placed 
under a private tutor in Glasgow, obviously with the view of pre- 
paring him to enter a university; and in January, 1627, he was en- 
rolled as an alumnus in the University of St. Andrews. The accounts 
of his tutor show that, during the residence of the youthful nobleman 
at that celebrated seat of learning, his recreations were riding, hunt- 
ing, hawking, archery, and golf. He showed a fondness also for 
poetry and chess, and for heroic and romantic histories. The frequent 
entries in his accounts of donations to the poor — to a ' rymer,' a 
dumb woman, a dwarf, ' poor Irishe women,' — show that his purse 
was always open to the needy. He was no less liberal to minstrels, 
morrice-dancers, jugglers, town officers and drummers, and to the 
servants — coachmen, footmen, and nurses — in the country houses 
which he visited. He seems, even at this early period, to have 
attracted public attention and expectations, for in a poem by William 
Lithgow, entitled ' Scotland's Welcome to her Native Son, and Sove- 
raigne Lord, King Charles,' the Genius of Scotland, addressing the 
King, thus refers to the youthful head of the Grahams : — 

' As for that hopefull youth, the young Lord Grahame, 
James Earl of Montrose, whose warlyke name 
Sprung from redoubted worth, made manhood try 
Their matchless deeds in unmatched chivalry — 
I do bequeath him to thy gracious love, 
Whose noble stocke did ever faithful prove 
To their old aged auncestors ; and my Bounds 
Were often freed from thraldome by their wounds ; 
Leaving their roote, the stamp of fidele truth, 
To be inherent in this noble youth : 

Whose Hearts, whose Hands, whose Swords, whose Deeds, whose Fame 
Made Mars, for valour, canonize The Grahame.' 

On quitting the university, Montrose, in his seventeenth year, 
married Lady Magdalene Carnegie, sixth daughter of the first Earl of 
Southesk. It was probably owing to the tender age of the young 
couple that the father of the bride binds himself in the marriage 
contract, dated 10th November, 1629, ' to entertain, and sustain, in 
house with himself honourably the saids noble Earl and Mistress 
Magdalene Carnegie, his promised spouse, during the space of three 
years next after the said marriage.' The young Earl continued to 

148 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

prosecute his studies after his marriage, under private tutors ; and, 
in 1633, leaving - his wife and young children at Kinnaird with his 
father-in-law, he visited the Continent, and spent three years in 
France and Italy. He returned home in 1636, being then in his 
twenty-fourth year. On his appearance at court, he was un- 
graciously received by the King, whose frigid manners were fitted 
to repel, rather than to attract, an ardent and high-spirited youth. It 
has been alleged by various writers that the indignation of Mont- 
rose at the coldness with which he was treated by Charles made him 
throw himself into the hands of the Covenanters ; but there is no 
evidence to warrant this assertion. Scotland was at this time in a 
state of great excitement, in consequence of the attempt of Charles 
and Laud to introduce the English Liturgy into the Scottish Church ; 
and Montrose has emphatically declared in several documents that 
he had arrived at the deliberate conviction that 'Churchmen's great- 
ness,' and Episcopal civil government, had grown to be equally 
destructive of liberty and prerogative. He therefore at once joined 
the Covenanting party, and became one of their most active leaders. 
In 1639 ne was sent to chastise the prelatic town of Aberdeen, and 
to compel the inhabitants, who were principally Episcopalians, to 
take the Covenant. The temperate manner in which he performed 
this task did not meet with the full approbation of his party. ' The 
discretion of that generous and noble youth,' says Baillie, ' was but 
too great. All was forgiven to that unnatural city.' 

After Montrose left Aberdeen, Lord Aboyne, at the head of a 
strong body of Highlanders, obtained possession of the town, 
evidently with the consent of the citizens, and the Covenanting 
general was a second time dispatched to this stronghold of the 
Episcopalians and Royalists, which the Highlanders evacuated on 
his approach. He treated the inhabitants with most unjustifiable 
severity, levied on them a contribution of ten thousand merks, 
pillaged their houses, carried off or destroyed their corn, and 
plundered both the fishermen of the town, and the farmers and 
peasantry of the adjacent country. Montrose then marched west- 
ward to attack the strongholds of the Gordons, but retraced his steps 
on learning that Aboyne had arrived with reinforcements, and had 
again taken possession of Aberdeen. The Highlanders, however, fled 
at the first discharge of the artillery of the Covenanting forces, and 
the unfortunate city once more fell into the hands of Montrose, who 
imposed a fine of sixty thousand merks sterling upon the citizens. 

The Grahams. 149 

When the Covenanters at length took up arms in defence of their 
liberties, and entered England in 1640, Montrose was the first man 
who forded the Tweed, at the head of his own battalion ; and, a few 
days after, he routed the vanguard of the English cavalry at New- 
burn, on the Tyne. Like Falkland, Hyde, and other moderate 
Reformers in the English Parliament, Montrose now became dis- 
satisfied with the proceedings of the more extreme members of his 
party, and was apprehensive that the ultimate views of the Coven- 
anters were inconsistent with the rights and just authority of the 
Sovereign. It has been alleged that he resented the preference 
given by the other leaders to the chief of the Campbells, the hered- 
itary rival of his family. ' Montrose,' says Clarendon, ' had always 
a great emulation, or rather great contempt, of the Marquis of Argyll, 
as he was too apt to contemn those he did not love. The people 
looked upon them both as young men of unlimited ambition, and 
used to say that they were like Caesar and Pompey : the one would 
endure no superior, and the other would have no equal.' 

No decided step, however, was taken by Montrose in opposi- 
tion to Argyll until July, 1640, when the Covenanting army was 
encamped on Dunse Law. At that period a bond was privately 
offered for his signature, proposing that some person should be 
appointed captain-general of the country north of the Forth, and 
implying that this person should be the Earl of Argyll. Montrose 
indignantly refused to subscribe this bond, and, in conjunction with 
the Earls of Marischal, Home, Athole, Mar, and other influential 
noblemen, including Lord Almond, the second in command of 
General Leslie's army, he entered into what was called the Cumber- 
nauld Bond, from the place where it was prepared, for their mutual 
aid and defence in case of need. This bond was speedily discovered 
by Argyll and his friends, and the subscribers were called to account 
for their procedure by the Committee at Edinburgh ; but their formal 
renunciation of the bond was accepted as a satisfactory settlement 
of the affair. The confidence of the party, however, in Montrose 
was shaken, and, in June, 1641, he was accused of carrying on a 
secret correspondence with the King, and, along with three of his 
friends, was confined in the castle of Edinburgh. He remained a 
close prisoner there until the beginning of 1642, when he was set at 
liberty, on the intercession of King Charles himself. 

After the breaking out of the Civil War, Montrose, who greatly 
disliked the timorous and trimming policy of the Marquis of Hamil- 

150 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

ton, the King's minister for Scotland, urged that an army of 
Royalists should be raised at once, to prevent the Covenanters from 
making common cause with the English Parliament. ' Resist,' he 
said, ' resist force with force. The King has loyal subjects in Scot- 
land ; they have wealth, and influence, and hearts stout and true ; 
they want but the King's countenance and commission. The only 
danger is delay. If the army of the Covenant be allowed to make 
head, loyalty will be overwhelmed. The rebellious cockatrice must 
be bruised in the egg. Physic is too late when the disease has 
overrun the body.' There can be little doubt that if Montrose had 
been permitted at this juncture to raise an army in behalf of the 
royal cause, the Covenanting forces could not have ventured to 
quit Scotland. But his advice, which was as sagacious as it was 
bold, was disregarded, and the result was that a powerful army, 
under General Leslie, was sent to the assistance of the Parliament, 
and turned the scale in their favour. 

On the ruinous failure of Hamilton's policy, and his consequent 
disgrace and imprisonment in the beginning of 1644, Montrose was 
appointed by the King Lieutenant-General in Scotland, and shortly 
after was advanced to the dignity of marquis. He made a daring 
attempt to cut his way into Scotland at the head of a small body of 
cavalry, with the view of raising the Scottish royalists on the side of 
the King, but was encountered on the Borders by a greatly superior 
force, and compelled to fall back on Carlisle. After the fatal battle 
of Marston Moor, however, he set out in August, 1644, m the dis- 
guise of a groom in attendance on two of his friends, Sir William 
Pollock and Colonel Sibbald, and succeeded in reaching the High- 
lands without detection. He found at Blair Athole two hundred 
Highlanders and about twelve hundred Irish auxiliaries, indifferently 
armed and disciplined, who had shortly before landed in the West 
Highlands under Alaster Macdonald, better known as Colkitto,* to 
aid the royal cause. Montrose immediately displayed his commis- 
sion from the King, and raised the royal standard. The High- 
landers flocked to it in considerable numbers, and the Marquis, 
finding himself at the head of a powerful force, lost no time in 
directing his march to the low country. At Tippermuir, three miles 
from Perth, he encountered (1st September) an army of six thousand 
Covenanters, under Lord Elcho, whom he defeated, with the loss of 

* He was the son of Coll Keitache MacGillespic Macdonald of Colonsay. Keitache 
means left-handed. 

The Grahams. 1 5 1 

three hundred men, and of all his artillery, arms, and baggage. Perth 
immediately surrendered, and the victors obtained from the terror- 
stricken citizens a seasonable supply of clothing and arms. The 
approach of Argyll at the head of a superior force compelled 
Montrose to leave Perth. The Highlanders in his army, according 
to their immemorial custom, quitted his standard and returned home 
to secure their spoil. The murder of Lord Kilpont [see The Earls 
of Menteith] still further diminished his army, as the followers of 
that nobleman left the standard, to convey the body of their chief to 
the sepulchre of his ancestors. With a force reduced to less than 
two thousand men, Montrose proceeded northward to Aberdeenshire. 
Here, at the Bridge of Dee, he encountered and defeated another 
army of the Covenanters, under Lord Burleigh and Lord Lewis 
Gordon, one of the sons of Huntly, and pursued the fugitives into 
the town of Aberdeen. That ill-fated town was given up to pillage, 
and suffered cruelly from the excesses of Montrose's Irish troops, 
who put to death without mercy all whom they found in the streets. 
In some instances they even compelled their victims to strip before 
they killed them, lest their clothes should be soiled by their blood. 
' The women durst not lament their husbands, or their fathers 
slaughtered in their presence, nor inter their dead, who remained 
unburied in the streets until the Irish departed.' * It has been 
justly said that the people of Aberdeen had a right to expect 
very different treatment from an army fighting under the royal 
banner, for they had always been favourable to the cause of the 
King ; and Montrose himself, when in the service of the Coven- 
anters, had been the agent in oppressing, for its devotion to the 
royal cause, the very city which his troops so cruelly plundered, on 
account of its enforced adherence to the Parliament. 

On the approach of Argyll at the head of a superior force, 
Montrose proceeded up the Spey ; then doubling back, he plunged 
into the wilds of Badenoch, and thence into Athole, always pursued, 
but never overtaken by the enemy. ' That strange coursing,' as 
Baillie terms the series of marches and countermarches, ' thrice 
round about from Spey to Athole, wherein Argyll and Lothian's 
soldiers were tired out, and the country harassed by both, and no 
less by friends than foes, did nothing for their own defence.' Com- 
pletely tired out by these rapid and harassing marches, Argyll 
returned to Edinburgh, and resigned his commission as general, 
* Spalding's Troubles in Scotland, ii., pp. 234-37. 

152 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

declaring that he had not been adequately supported. It was sup- 
posed that Montrose would remain until the spring in the district of 
Athole, but having obtained a strong reinforcement of Macdonalds, 
Stewarts of Appin, and other Jacobite clans, he resolved to attack 
Argyll in his native fastnesses. Guided by a clansman of Glencoe, who 
declared that there was not a farm, or half a farm, under Maccallum 
More but he knew every foot of it, Montrose made his way into 
Argyllshire, through paths hitherto deemed inaccessible, and 
plundered and laid waste the whole country with merciless severity. 
Dividing his forces into three bodies, in order to make the work of 
devastation more complete, he traversed the whole of the devoted 
district for the space of a month, killing the able-bodied men, driving 
off the flocks and herds, and laying the houses in ashes. As Spalding 
says, ' He left no house or hold, except impregnable strengths, 
unburnt ; their corn, goods, and gear ; and left not a four-footed 
beast in Argyll's haill lands; and such as would not drive they 
houghed and slew.'* The thirst of feudal vengeance, it has 
been justly said, may explain, but can in no degree excuse, these 

On leaving Argyllshire, Montrose withdrew towards Lochaber, for 
the purpose of organising a general rising of the clans. He was 
followed by a strong body of the Campbells, under their chief; while 
General Baillie, at the head of a considerable army, was advancing 
from the east, and Lord Seaforth, with another force, was stationed 
at Inverness. Their object was, by a combined movement from 
different points, to surround and overpower their active enemy. 
Montrose, however, resolved to forestall their operations, and to fall 
upon the Campbells before they could be joined by Seaforth and 
Baillie. He accordingly retraced his steps over a succession of 
mountains covered with snow, and through passes ' so strait,' as he 
said, ' that three men could not march abreast,' and on the evening 
of the 1 st of February, came in sight of the Campbells at Inverlochy, 
near Fort William. The privations borne by his forces during this 
march must have been very great. ' That day they fought,' says 
Patrick Gordon of Cluny, ' the General himself and the Earl of Airlie 
had no more to break their fast upon before they went to battle but 
a little meal mixed with cold water, which out of a hollow dish 
they did pick up with their knives. One may judge what wants the 
rest of the army must surfer. The most part of them had not tasted 

* Troubles hi Scotland, ii., p. 296. 

The Grahams. i <; -* 

bread for two days, marching over high mountains in knee-deep 
snow, and wading brooks and rivers up to their girdles.' 

At sunrise next day the battle took place. The Campbells, under 
the command of Sir Duncan Campbell of Auchinbreck, commenced 
the attack, and, as Montrose says, ' fought for some time with great 
bravery; ' but in the end they were completely defeated, with the loss 
of their general, along with many of his principal officers, and fifteen 
hundred men, who were killed in the conflict or the pursuit, which 
lasted for nine miles. 

After his victory at Inverlochy, Montrose marched to the north- 
east, laying waste the country as he proceeded. At Elgin he was 
at length joined by a detachment of the Gordons, who had hitherto 
held aloof from him ; and Seaforth also soon after repaired to his 
standard. He now issued orders for all who were capable of bearing 
arms, between the ages of sixteen and sixty, to join his banner, under 
pain of military execution, and those who did not immediately obey 
his summons he treated as rebels, ' plundering, burning, and spoiling 
the houses, biggins, and cornyards of the haill lands of the gentry ; 
carrying off the horses, nolt, sheep, and plenishing [furniture] from 
others; laying the villages in ashes, and destroying the fishermen's 
boats and nets.' The Lowlands of Aberdeenshire and Moray were 
laid waste with fire and sword by the savage hordes of Irishmen 
and Highlanders. Elgin and Banff were given up to be pillaged 
by them ' pitifully ; no merchants' goods nor gear left ; they saw no 
man in the street but was stripped naked to the skin.' Brechin, 
Stonehaven, and Cowie, with the shipping, and the buildings on the 
estate of Dunnotar, were in succession consigned to the flames, 
amidst the tears and lamentations of the defenceless and wretched 
inhabitants. These ruthless barbarities were all the more inex- 
cusable that they were inflicted on the tenantry and retainers of 
Montrose's old friend and fellow-soldier, Earl Marischal, avowedly, 
because he refused to abandon the Covenant for which they had 
formerly fought side by side. [See The Keiths, Earls Maris- 

About this time Montrose lost his eldest son, John, a youth of great 
promise, in his fifteenth year, who died of sickness brought on by 
the fatigues of their rapid marches. His second son, James, ' a young 
bairn about fourteen years,' says Spalding, ' learning at the schools 
in Montrose,' was seized by Sir John Urrey, and carried off to Edin- 
burgh. The Covenanting forces under Baillie were reinforced at 

154 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

this juncture by a considerable levy of cavalry under Urrey ; and 
Lord Lewis Gordon, who had twice already changed sides in the con- 
test, withdrew from the royal forces with a large part of the Gordons. 
Montrose was in consequence compelled to abandon the open country, 
and once more to retire northwards. Before carrying this movement 
into effect he attacked and stormed the town of Dundee, 4th April. 
But while his troops were dispersed in quest of liquor and plunder, 
he received intelligence that Baillie and Urrey, with four thousand 
men, were within a mile of the town. He instantly called off his 
soldiers from the spoil, and by a series of masterly movements kept 
the enemy at bay ; and after a retreat of three days and two nights, 
harassed at every step by his pursuers, he at last effected his escape 
to the mountains. ' I have often,' says his biographer, Dr. Wishart, 
' heard those who were esteemed the most experienced officers, not 
in Britain only, but in France and Germany, prefer this march to his 
most celebrated victories.' 

The Covenanting generals unwisely divided their forces. Urrey 
marched northwards to Inverness, where he was joined by the 
Frasers and other friendly clans, and turned, with an overwhelming 
force, against Lord Gordon, who was stationed at Auchindoun. 
Montrose, who was in Menteith,in Stirlingshire, hearing of this move- 
ment, with his characteristic promptitude and rapidity hastened along 
the Braes of Balquhidder, thence down the side of Loch Tay, and 
through Athole and Angus ; he then traversed the Grampian moun- 
tains, and effected a junction with Lord Gordon on the Dee. Urrey's 
forces were still superior in numbers to the royal army, and without 
waiting for Baillie' s co-operation, he attacked Montrose at the village 
of Auldearn, near Nairn (May 4, 1645). The battle was stoutly 
contested, but the Covenanters were in the end defeated, mainly 
through the treachery of Colonel Drummond, one of Urrey's officers, 
who was afterwards tried by a court-martial and shot. Nearly two 
thousand men, including a considerable number of officers and 
several men of rank, were slain, and their whole baggage, ammuni- 
tion, and money, along with sixteen colours, fell into the hands of 
the victors. 

After this signal victory, Montrose marched to Elgin, laying waste 
the country as usual with fire and sword. Nairn and Elgin were 
plundered, and the principal buildings set on fire. Cullen was 
reduced to ashes, and ' sic lands as were left unburnt up before were 
now burnt up.' Meanwhile, learning that Baillie was ravaging the 

The Grahams. 155 

estates of Huntly, he marched northward, and brought him to action 
at the village of Alford, on the Don (July 2nd). The issue was for 
some time doubtful, but partly by the skilful manoeuvring of their 
general, the Royalists were successful, though their victory was em- 
bittered by the death of Lord Gordon in the heat of the conflict. 

The fame of Montrose's victories having attracted considerable 
numbers, both of Lowlanders and Highlanders, to his standard, he 
descended from the mountains and marched southwards at the head 
of nearly six thousand men. He approached Perth, where the Par- 
liament was then assembled. As a numerous army, however, had 
taken up a strong position in the neighbourhood, he did not venture 
to attack it, but directed his march toward Stirling, as usual laying 
waste the country, burning the cottages, and killing the defenceless 
inhabitants. Castle Campbell, a noble antique edifice, was left in 
ruins by the same unsparing spirit of vengeance. Even the town 
and lordship of Alloa, belonging to the Earl of Mar, did not escape 
the ravages of the Irish kernes, though the Earl, who was favourably 
inclined to the royal cause, had hospitably entertained Montrose and 
his officers. Passing by Stirling, which was strongly garrisoned and 
defied their attack, the Royalists continued their march to the south- 
west, and encamped near the village of Kilsyth. 

The army of the Covenanters was meanwhile following the foot- 
steps of Montrose, and was now close at hand. Baillie, who was 
well aware that his raw and undisciplined levies were utterly unfit 
to cope with Montrose's veterans, wished to avoid a battle, but he 
was overruled by the Committee of Estates, who forced him to quit 
the strong position he had taken up, and to commence the attack. 
After a brief struggle Baillie' s forces were totally defeated with the 
loss of upwards of four thousand men. 

This crowning victory made Montrose for the time master of Scot- 
land. The leaders of the Covenanting party fled for refuge to 
Berwick, and numbers of the Lowland nobility, who had hitherto 
stood aloof, now declared in favour of the royal cause. Montrose 
proceeded to Glasgow, which he laid under a heavy contribution, 
and put to death some of the principal citizens as incendiaries. The 
city of Edinburgh sent commissioners to entreat his clemency. A 
special commission was sent by the King, appointing Montrose 
Lieutenant-Governor and Captain-General of Scotland, and he issued 
a proclamation for a new Parliament to meet at Glasgow in October. 
From the outset of his career the object which Montrose had in 

156 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

view was to clear Scotland of the Covenanting forces, and then to 
lead his victorious army into England, to the assistance of the King. 
In accordance with this plan he now directed his march towards the 
Borders, where he expected to be joined by a body of fifteen hundred 
horse, under Lord Digby. But the Highlanders, according to their 
usual custom, now quitted the army, and returned home for the 
purpose of depositing their plunder in a place of security. The 
Gordons, with their leader, Lord Aboyne, soon after followed their 
example, so that, when Montrose began his march towards the Tweed, 
his force had dwindled down to a body scarcely more numerous 
than when he was wandering through Athole and Badenoch. 

Meanwhile General David Leslie had been despatched from the 
Covenanting army in England to the assistance of the Estates. 
Montrose had heard of his approach, but as Leslie directed his march 
along the eastern coast, he supposed that it was his intention to cut 
off his retreat to the mountains, which seems to have been the case. 
But when Leslie reached Tranent he learned that Montrose was en- 
camped in fancied security in Ettrick Forest. He therefore altered 
his course and marched with all speed down the vale of the Gala, to 
Melrose, which he reached on the evening of September 12th. 
The royal army was only five or six miles distant from that place. 
The infantry were posted on a level plain called Philiphaugh, on the 
northern side of the Ettrick, while Montrose had taken up his 
quarters with the cavalry in the town of Selkirk, on the opposite bank 
of the river. Favoured by a thick mist, Leslie, early next morning, 
forded the Ettrick and came close upon the encampment of the 
Royalists without being discovered by a single scout. The surprise 
was complete. The noise of the conflict conveyed to Montrose the 
first intimation of the approach of the enemy. Hastily collecting 
his cavalry, he galloped across the river to the scene of action, 
where he found matters in a state of hopeless confusion. After 
repeated and desperate attempts to retrieve the fortunes of the day, 
he was at length compelled to make his escape from the field, and 
cutting his way through the midst of his enemies, followed by the 
Marquis of Douglas, Lord Napier, and about thirty horsemen, he 
fled up the Vale of Yarrow, and over Minchmoor to Peebles. Next 
day he was joined by the Earls of Crawford and Airlie, accompanied 
by about two hundred of the fugitive cavalry, and with these scanty 
remains of his army he succeeded in regaining his Highland 
fastnesses. The fruits of his six splendid victories were thus swept 

The Grahams. 157 

away at one blow, and all hope of his retrieving - the royal fortunes 
was extinguished. 

For some little time after his overthrow at Philiphaugh, Montrose 
maintained a guerilla warfare in Athole. But after Charles had 
taken refuge with the Scottish army in England, he issued orders to 
Montrose to disband his followers, and to withdraw from the king- 
dom. Reluctantly obeying this command, the Marquis laid down 
his arms, and, having arranged the terms with General Middleton 
(July 22nd, 1646), he embarked, 3rd September, in the disguise of a 
servant, in a small Norwegian vessel, along with a few friends, and 
sailed for Norway. He afterwards proceeded to Paris, where he 
resided for some time. He was offered, by Cardinal Mazarin, in 
March, 1648, the rank of General of the Scots in France, and 
of a Lieutenant-General in the French army, with most liberal pay; 
but he was dissatisfied with the conditions offered him. As he told 
his nephew, the second Lord Napier, with a touch of his old haughti- 
ness, he thought ' that any imployment below ane Marischall of 
France was inferiour to him ; besides the Frenches had become 
enymies to our king, and did laboure still to foment the differences 
betwixt him and his subjects.' He therefore declined the Cardinal's 
offer, and proceeded through Geneva to Germany, where he had 
been informed he would be welcome. At Prague, he was graciously 
received by the Emperor Ferdinand, who bestowed upon him the 
baton of a Field-Marshal, and gave him the command of the levies to 
be raised on the borders of the Spanish Netherlands. In order to 
avoid hostile armies, he returned to Flanders by Vienna, Presburg, 
Dantzic, and Copenhagen, where he met with a cordial reception, 
and thence to Brussels. While residing at this place he heard of the 
execution of King Charles, which deeply affected him, and he wrote 
some well-known verses to his memory, expressing the highest 
veneration for that ill-fated sovereign. 

Montrose was still constantly meditating a descent upon Scotland 
in favour of the royal cause, and was at the Hague while Prince 
Charles was in treaty with the leaders of the Covenanting party for 
a restoration to the Scottish throne, on the principles embodied in 
the National Covenant. The Marquis earnestly recommended him 
not to accept the Crown on the stringent terms proposed by them, 
and offered to replace him by force of arms on the throne of his 
ancestors. Charles, with characteristic baseness and duplicity, con- 
tinued to negotiate a treaty with the Commissioners deputed by the 

158 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

Scottish Estates, while at the same time he encouraged Montrose 
to persevere in his enterprise, and sent him the George and Garter.* 
The Marquis, having obtained a small supply of money and arms 
from the Queen of Sweden, and the King of Denmark, embarked at 
Hamburg, in the spring of 1650, with six hundred German mer- 
cenaries, and landed on one of the Orkney islands. Two of his 
vessels, laden with arms and ammunition, and about a third of his 
forces, were lost on the voyage. He constrained a few hundreds of 
the unwarlike fishermen to join him, and early in April he crossed to 
Caithness, with the design of penetrating into the Highlands. But 
just as he approached the borders of Ross-shire, at a place called 
Drumcarbisdale, on the river Kyle (27th April), he fell into an 
ambuscade laid for him by Colonel Strachan, who had been 
despatched in all haste with a body of horse to obstruct his pro- 
gress. The Orkney men threw down their arms at once, and called 
for quarter. The German mercenaries retreated to a wood, and 
there, after a short defence, surrendered themselves prisoners. 
Montrose's few Scottish followers made a desperate resistance, but 
were most of them cut to pieces. As Sir Walter Scott remarks, ' the 
ardent and impetuous character of this great warrior, corresponding 
with that of the troops which he commanded, was better calculated 
for attack than defence — for surprising others rather than for pro- 
viding against surprise himself. His final defeat at Dunbeith so 
nearly resembles in its circumstances the surprise at Philiphaugh, as 
to throw some shade on his military talents.' Montrose, who was 
wounded and had his horse killed under him, seeing the day irre- 
trievably lost, fled from the field. Along with the Earl of Kinnoul 
and other two or three friends, they made their way into the desolate 
and mountainous region which separates Assynt from the Kyle 
of Sutherland, with the view of passing into the friendly country of 
Lord Reay. The Earl of Kinnoul sunk under the effect of hunger, 
cold, and fatigue, and Montrose himself fell into the hands of Mac- 
leod of Assynt, a mean and sordid chief, who delivered him up to 
the Covenanting general. He was conveyed to Edinburgh in the 
peasant's habit in which he had disguised himself. ' He sat,' says an 
eye-witness, ' upon a little shelty horse without a saddle, but a quilt 
of rags and straw, and pieces of rope for stirrups, his feet fastened 
under the horse's belly with a tether, and a bit halter for a bridle ; a 
ragged old dark-reddish plaid, and a Montrer cap upon his head, a 
* Letters of Charles II, Montrose and his Times, ii. 353. 

The Grahams. 159 

musketeer on each side, and his fellow-prisoners on foot after him.' 
At the house of the Laird of Grange, where he spent one night, he 
nearly effected his escape by a stratagem of the lady, who ' plied the 
guards with intoxicating drink until they were all fast asleep, and 
then she dressed the Marquis in her own clothes. In this disguise 
he passed all the sentinels, and was on the point of escaping, 
when a soldier, just sober enough to mark what was passing, gave 
the alarm, and he was again secured.'* 

When he reached Dundee the citizens, greatly to their honour, 
although they had suffered severely from his arms, expressed sympathy 
for their fallen foe, and supplied him with clothes and other necessaries 
suitable to his rank. ' The Marquis himself/ says Sir Walter Scott, 
1 must have felt this as a severe rebuke for the wasteful mode in which 
he had carried on his warfare; and it was a still more piercing reproach 
to the unworthy victors who now triumphed over an heroic enemy, 
in the same manner as they would have done over a detected felon.' 

Montrose reached Edinburgh on Saturday the 1 8th of May, and it 
was resolved by his ungenerous enemies to bring him into the capital 
with a kind of mock procession. At the foot of the Canongate, near 
Holyrood, he was received by the executioners, with the magistrates 
and the town-guard. His officers walked on foot bound with cords ; 
then followed the Marquis himself, placed on a high chair in a cart, 
bareheaded, and bound to the seat with cords ; the hangman, wearing 
his bonnet, rode on the foremost of the four horses that drew the 
cart. * In all the way,' says a contemporary chronicler, ' there 
appeared in him such majesty, courage, modesty — and even some- 
what more than natural — that those common women who had lost 
their husbands and children in his wars, and who were hired to stone 
him, were upon the sight of him so astonished, and moved, that their 
intended curses turned into tears and prayers.' As the procession 
moved slowly up the Canongate, it stopped opposite Moray House, 
where the Marquis of Argyll, his son Lord Lome, and his newly- 
married wife — a daughter of the Earl of Morav — with the Chancellor 
Lord Loudon, and Warriston, appeared at a balcony for the purpose 
of gratifying their resentment by gazing on their dreaded enemy. 
But on Montrose ' turning his face towards them, they presently 
crept in at the windows, which being perceived by an Englishman, 
he cried up it was no wonder they started aside at his look, for they 
durst not look him in the face these seven years before.' 

* Life and Times, 471. 

160 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

Deputations both from the Parliament and the General Assembly 
waited upon the redoubted Cavalier in prison, and strove hard to 
induce him to make some acknowledgment of his alleged offences. 
He firmly vindicated, however, the course which he had taken in the 
royal service. Referring to his most vulnerable procedure, the 
ravages committed by his soldiers in plundering the country, he 
pleaded that ' soldiers who wanted pay could not be restrained from 
spoilzie, nor kept under such strict discipline as other regular forces. 
But he declared that he did all that lay in his power to keep them 
back from it; and as for bloodshed, if it could have been thereby 
prevented, he would rather it had all come out of his own veins.' 
The main point which they pressed against him was his breach of 
the Covenant. He declared that he still adhered to the Covenant 
which he took. ' Bishops,' he added, ' I care not for them ; I never 
intended to advance their interest. But when the King had granted 
you all your desires, and you were every one sitting under his vine 
and fig tree, that then you should have taken a party in England by 
the hand, and entered into a league and covenant with them against 
the King, was the thing I judged my duty to oppose to the utmost.' 
Mr. James Guthrie, one of the deputation from the General Assembly, 
expressed their great grief that, in consequence of the impenitence of 
the Marquis, they could not release him from the sentence of excom- 
munication. ' I am very sorry,' was his dignified rejoinder, ' that 
any actions of mine have been offensive to the Church of Scotland, 
and I would with all my heart be reconciled to the same. But since 
I cannot attain it on any other terms unless I call that my sin which 
I account to have been my duty, I cannot for all the reason and 
conscience in the world.' 

Before Montrose reached Edinburgh, the Parliament had resolved 
to dispense with the form of a trial, and to proceed against him upon 
an act of attainder passed in the winter of 1644, while he was 
ravaging the territory of Argyll. The barbarity of his sentence was 
studiously aggravated by the most disgraceful insults. He was 
condemned to be hanged upon a gibbet thirty feet high, on which he 
was to be suspended for three hours ; his head was to be affixed to 
an iron spike on the Tolbooth of Edinburgh ; his limbs were to be 
placed on the gates of the four principal towns in Scotland, and his 
body (unless he should be released from the excommunication of the 
Kirk) was to be interred in the Boroughmuir, under the gallows. 
Montrose was summoned before the Parliament to hear this brutal 

The Grahams. 161 

and cruel sentence read. The Chancellor, the Earl of Loudon, a cadet 

of the Campbell family, loaded him with coarse and virulent abuse. 

The Marquis defended himself with great courage, temper, and 

dignity. ' He behaved himself all this time in the house,' says Sir 

James Balfour, a hostile witness, ' with a great deal of courage and 

modesty, unmoved and undaunted as appeared, only he sighed two 

several times, and rolled his eyes alongst all the corners of the house; 

and at the reading of the sentence he lifted up his face, without any 

word speaking.'* He was then conveyed back to prison, where 

another deputation of ministers, with mistaken, though no doubt 

honest zeal, waited upon him and endeavoured to draw from him 

some expressions of penitence for taking up arms in behalf of the 

King. He at last put a stop to their exhortations with the words, 

' I pray you, gentlemen, let me die in peace.' 

That evening when left alone, he wrote with the point of a 

diamond on his prison window the following lines : — 

' Let them bestow on every airth a limb, 
Then open all my veins, that I may swim 
To Thee, my Maker, in that crimson lake ; 
Then place my parboiled head upon a stake ; 
Scatter my ashes, strew them in the air ; 
Lord ! since thou knowest where all these atoms are, 
I'm hopeful thou'lt recover once my dust, 
And confident thou'lt raise me with the just.' 

The next day, May 21st, was fixed for his execution, and Wishart 
mentions that Johnston of Warriston, the Clerk-Register, entered the 
Marquis's cell while he was combing the long curled hair which he 
wore, according to the fashion of the Cavaliers, and asked him what 
he was about, in a tone which implied that he regarded this as but 
an idle employment at so solemn a time. ' While my head is my 
own,' replied Montrose with a smile, ' I will dress and adorn it ; but 
when it becomes yours, you may treat it as you please.' He walked 
on foot from the Tolbooth to the scaffold, which had been erected in 
the middle of the market-place between the Cross and the Tron. 
' He was clad in rich attire,' says a contemporary, ' more becoming 
a bridegroom than a criminal going to the gallows. None of his 
friends or kinsmen were allowed to accompany him, neither was he 
permitted to address the people from the scaffold ; but the calm and 
dignified speech which he delivered to those around him was taken 
down, and circulated at the time. Dr. Wishart' s narrative of his 
exploits and his own manifesto were hung around his neck. He 

* Sir James Balfour's Notes of the Parliament. 
VOL. II. 11 

1 62 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

himself assisted to fasten them, merely saying with a smile at this 
new display of the malice of his enemies, ' I did not feel more 
honoured when his Majesty sent me the Garter.' 'Then,' says an 
eye-witness, ' with the most undaunted courage, he went up to the 
top of that prodigious gibbet, where, having freely pardoned the 
executioner, he gave him three or four pieces of gold, and inquired 
of him how long he should hang there, who said three hours ; then 
commanding him, at the uplifting of his hands, to tumble him over, 
he was accordingly thrust off by the weeping executioner. The 
whole people gave a general groan, and it was very observable that 
even those who at first appearance had bitterly inveighed against 
him, could not now abstain from tears. 'Tis said that Argyll's 
expressions had something of grief in them, and that he did likewise 
weep at the rehearsal of his death, for he was not present at the 

The sentence pronounced upon Montrose was carried out in all its 
brutal and shocking details. At the Restoration, in 1660, his head 
was taken down from the Tolbooth in the presence of Lord Napier 
and a number of the leading barons of the house of Graham, and the 
scattered limbs were collected and interred, with great pomp and 
ceremony, in the tomb of his grandfather, the Viceroy of Scotland, 
in the church of St. Giles. 

Montrose, who was thus cut off at the age of thirty-seven, was one 
of the most distinguished Scotsmen whom the seventeenth century, 
fertile in great men, produced. His talents for irregular warfare 
were of the highest order. He was a poet * and a scholar as well as 
a soldier, and wrote and spoke clearly and eloquently. His genius 
was of the heroic cast, and in the opinion of the celebrated Cardinal 
de Retz — no mean judge of character — closely resembled that of 
the ancient heroes of Greece and Rome. ' Montrose,' says Lord 
Clarendon, 'was in his nature fearless of danger, and never declined 
any enterprise for the difficulty of going through with it, but 
exceedingly affected those which seemed desperate to other men ; 
and did believe somewhat to be in himself above other men, which 
made him lean more easily towards those who were, or were willing 
to be, inferior to him (towards whom he exercised wonderful civility 
and generosity) than with his superiors or equals. . . . He was not 
without vanity, but his virtues were much superior, and he well 

* His best, and best-known, poem is entitled, 'An Excellent New Ballad to the 
tune of" I'll never love thee more.'" 

The Graha?ns. 163 

deserved to have his memory preserved and celebrated among the 
most illustrious persons of the age in which he lived.' * Montrose 
was no doubt ambitious and fond of applause ; as he himself frankly 
acknowledged, ' he was one of those that loved to have praise for 
virtuous actions.' But Clarendon admits that he was a man of ' a 
clear spirit,' ' a man of the clearest honour, courage, and affection 
to the King's service.' 'A person of as great honour, and as 
exemplary integrity and loyalty, as ever that nation (the Scottish) 
bred.' It is impossible, however, to deny that Montrose waged war 
in a sanguinary spirit, and that he permitted, if he did not authorise, 
his troops to lay waste the country in a cruel and vindictive manner. 
His own defence against this charge has already been quoted, and 
it has been pleaded in extenuation that this was ' the fault of his 
country and his age, and that his enemies showed as little of mercy 
and forbearance.' 

In his personal deportment, Montrose was dignified yet graceful. 
His features, though not handsome, were singularly expressive. 
* His hair was of a dark brown colour, and a high nose, a full, decided, 
well-opened, quick, grey eye, and a sanguine complexion, made 
amends for some coarseness and irregularity in the subordinate parts 
of the face. His stature was very little above the middle size ; but 
in person he was uncommonly well built, and capable both of exert- 
ing great force, and enduring much fatigue. He was a man of a 
very princely carriage, and excellent address, which made him 
treated by all princes for the most part with the greatest familiarity. 
He was a complete horseman, and had a singular grace in riding.' 
' As he was strong of body and limb, so he was most agile, which 
made him excel most others in those exercises where these two 
are required. His bodily endowments were equally fitting the 
court as the camp.' 

Two days after his execution, the heart of Montrose was taken out 
of his body, which, in accordance with his sentence, was buried at 
the foot of the gallows on the Boroughmuir. This feat was accom- 
plished by ' conveyance of some adventurous spirits appointed by 
that noble and honourable lady, the Lady Napier, taken out and 
embalmed in the most costly manner by that skilful chirurgeon and 
apothecary, Mr. James Callander, and then put in a rich case of 
gold.' This interesting relic was in the possession, last century, 

* Clarendon's History, vii. 284. 

t Relation of the True Funeral of the Great Lord Marquis of Montrose in the year 1661. 


1 64 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

of Francis, fifth Lord Napier, great-grandson of the lady who had it 
embalmed. Its subsequent extraordinary fortunes are narrated in a 
letter from Sir Alexander Johnstone, formerly Chief Justice of 
Ceylon, which is printed in the Appendix to Mr. Napier's ' Life of 
Montrose.' According to Sir Alexander, the gold filigree box 
containing the heart of Montrose was given by Lord Napier, on his 
deathbed, to his eldest and favourite daughter, who afterwards 
became Mrs. Johnstone and Sir Alexander's mother. She accom- 
panied her husband to India, and during the voyage the gold box 
was struck by a splinter, in action with a French frigate. ' When in 
India,' continues Sir Alexander, ' my mother's anxiety about it gave 
rise to a report amongst the natives of the country that it was a 
talisman, and that whoever possessed it would never be wounded in 
battle or taken prisoner. Owing to this report it was stolen from her, 
and for some time it was not known what had become of it. At last 
she heard that it had been offered for sale to a powerful chief, who 
had purchased it for a large sum of money.' Sir Alexander hap- 
pened to pay a visit to this chief, and induced him to restore the 
stolen property. It was again lost by Mr. and Mrs. Johnstone, from 
its being secreted, along with some other plate, in a well at Boulogne 
during the French Revolution, and was never recovered by them. ■ We 
can scarcely conceive a stranger turn of fate,' says Earl Stanhope, 
1 than that the same nerves and sinews which had throbbed to the eager 
pulse of a Scottish hero in the Highlands, should, a century afterwards, 
come to be worshipped as a talisman on an Indian idol shrine.' 

The ' Great Marquis of Montrose,' as he is usually termed, was 
succeeded by his eldest surviving son, James, who was born about 
the year 1631. He was restored to the family dignities and estates, 
and had a new patent of marquis granted to him after the Restora- 
tion, 1 2th October, 1660. With great good feeling, he refused to 
vote on the trial of the Marquis of Argyll, the noted enemy of his 
father. He received, on the 21st of August, 1661, a charter of the 
Lordship of Cowal, forfeited by the chief of the Campbells, and was 
appointed one of the extraordinary Lords of Session, June 25th, 
1668. But he had a strong aversion to the intrigues and factions of a 
public career during that stormy period, and preferred the peace and 
repose of private life. The 'Good Marquis,' as he was designated, 
was peculiarly amiable in his disposition. He died in 1669, and was 
succeeded by his son — 

The Grahams. i£>5 

James, third Marquis, who was appointed by Charles II. Captain 
of the Guard, and afterwards President of the Council. Unmindful 
of the example set him by his father, he acted as chancellor of the 
jury who brought in a verdict of guilty against the Earl of Argyll, 
his cousin-german, 12th December, 1681, one of the most iniquitous 
acts of that shameful period. The Marquis died prematurely in 
1684, leaving an only son, James, fourth Marquis and first Duke of 
Montrose. He was a mere child at the time of his father's death, 
and was left to the guardianship of his mother, along with the Earls 
of Haddington and Perth, Hay of Drummelzier, and Sir William 
Bruce of Kinross. On the 1st of February, 1688, however, the 
Marchioness was deprived of this office, on pretence of her marriage 
with Sir John Bruce, younger, of Kinross, but in reality it was believed 
because King James wished to have the young nobleman brought 
up as a Roman Catholic. Fortunately the expulsion of the arbitrary 
and unconstitutional sovereign from the throne frustrated his design ; 
but his feeling on the subject was made evident by his removal from 
their seats on the bench of Lords Harcarse and Edmonstone, the 
judges who had voted in favour of the tutors selected by the father. 
The young Marquis spent some time travelling on the Continent. 
He grew up singularly handsome and engaging in his manners, and 
joined the Whig party, by whom he was highly esteemed and 
honoured. He was appointed High Admiral of Scotland in Feb- 
ruary, 1705, President of the Council, February 28th, 1706, was a 
steady supporter of the Union between Scotland and England, and 
was created Duke of Montrose on the 24th of April, 1707. He was 
five times chosen one of the representative peers of Scotland, and 
held that position from 1707 to 1727. He was also appointed 
Keeper of the Privy Seal, February 23rd, 1709, but was removed 
from that office in 17 13 by the Tory Ministry. On hearing that 
Queen Anne was dying, the Duke, along with other Whig peers, 
hastened to Edinburgh, and, on the announcement of her death, they 
proclaimed George I., who had appointed the Duke one of the Lords 
of Regency. He then hastened to London to receive the new King, 
and six days after George had landed, he appointed Montrose Secre- 
tary of State for Scotland in room of the Earl of Mar, and he was 
sworn a Privy Councillor October 4, 1717. He was appointed 
Keeper of the Great Seal in Scotland ; but, in consequence of his 
opposition to Walpole, he was dismissed from that office in April, 

1 66 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

The Duke made a great addition to his hereditary estates by 
purchasing the property of the Duke of Lennox in Dumbartonshire, 
along with the hereditary sheriffdom of that county, the custodian- 
ship of Dumbarton Castle, and the regality of Lennox. His Grace 
was for many years involved in a kind of private, or local, war with 
the celebrated freebooter, Rob Roy Macgregor. They had some 
transactions in common in cattle dealing, the Duke having lent 
Rob considerable sums of money to enable him to carry on his 
speculations in the cattle trade. Unfortunately a sudden depression 
of markets, and the dishonesty of a partner named Macdonald, 
rendered Rob totally insolvent. The Duke, who conceived himself 
deceived and cheated by Macgregor' s conduct, employed legal 
means to recover the money lent to him. Rob's landed property of 
Craigroyston was attached by the regular form of legal procedure, 
and his stock and furniture was seized and sold. Considering himself 
harshly and oppressively treated by the Duke, Macgregor carried on 
a predatory war against his Grace for thirty years, drove away his 
cattle, on one occasion robbed his factor of ^300 which he had just 
received as rent, and repeatedly carried off quantities of corn from 
the granaries on the estate. The Duke made vigorous, but fruitless, 
efforts to destroy his troublesome adversary. On one occasion he 
actually surprised Macgregor and made him prisoner ; but he suc- 
ceeded in making his escape, in the manner described in Sir Walter 
Scott's novel of ' Rob Roy.' * 

The Duke, who was Chancellor of the University of Glasgow, died 
7th January, 1742. The eldest of his four sons died in infancy. 
The second was created a peer of Great Britain by the title of Earl 
and Baron Graham of Belford, 23rd May, 1732, with remainder to 
his brother. He died unmarried in 174 1. The third son — 

William, second Duke of Montrose, along with his younger 
brother, George, was placed under the tuition of David Mallet, or 
rather Malloch, from whom they were not likely to have learned 
much that was good, and along with him made the tour of Europe. 
The Duke was noted for his great personal courage. Boswell men- 
tions that when riding one night near Farnham, on his way to 
London, Montrose (then Lord Graham) was attacked by two high- 
waymen on horseback ; he instantly shot one of them, upon which 
the other galloped off. His servant, who was very well mounted, pro- 

* See Introduction to Rob Roy. 

The Grahams. 167 

posed to pursue and take the robber ; but his Grace said, ' No, we 
have had blood enough; I hope the man may live to repent.' Under 
the Jurisdiction Act of 1747, the Duke recovered for the sheriffship 
of Dumbartonshire £"3,000; for the regality of Montrose, ,£1,000; 
of Menteith, £"200; of Lennox, £578 18s. 4d. ; and of Darnley, 
£"300; in all £"5,078 18s 4d., instead of £"15,000, which he claimed. 
The Duke became an adherent of William Pitt, and the family have 
ever since been attached to the Tory party. He died September 
23rd, 1790, ana was succeeded by his only surviving son — 

James, third Duke of Montrose. He represented in the House of 
Commons, first the borough of Richmond, in Yorkshire, at the 
general election of 1780, and subsequently Great Bedwin in 1784. 
He was appointed one of the Lords of the Treasury on the formation 
of the Ministry of Mr. Pitt in 1783, became Paymaster of the Forces 
in 1789, and one of the Commissioners of the Indian Board. He 
was appointed Master of the Horse in 1790 — an office which he 
resigned for that of Lord Justice-General of Scotland in 1795. He 
was also President of the Board of Trade, June 10, 1804, and Joint 
Postmaster-General, July 13 in the same year. He was removed 
by the Ministry of ' All the Talents ' in 1806, but on the return of the 
Tories to power in the following year, he was again made Master of 
the Horse, an office which he held until 1821, when he succeeded the 
Marquis of Hertford as Lord Chamberlain. Like his father, he was 
Chancellor of the University of Glasgow, and was also Lord-Lieu- 
tenant of the counties of Stirling and Dumbarton, in which, before 
the Reform Bill, his influence was predominant. He died Decem- 
ber 30th, 1836. 

Sir Nathaniel Wraxall, in the ' Memoirs of his own Times,' says 
of this Duke : ' Few individuals, however distinguished by birth, 
talents, parliamentary interest, or public services, have attained to 
more splendid employments, or have arrived at greater honours, than 
Lord Graham under the reign of George III. Besides enjoying the 
lucrative sinecure of Justice-General of Scotland for life, we have 
seen him occupy a place in the Cabinet while he was Postmaster- 
General, during Pitt's second ill-fated administration. If he pos- 
sessed no distinguished talent, he displayed various qualities calcu- 
lated to compensate for the want of great ability, particularly the 
prudence, sagacity, and attention to his own interests so character- 
istic of the Caledonian people. Nor did he want great energy as 

1 68 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

well as activity of mind and body. During the progress of the 
French Revolution, when the fabric of our constitution was threat- 
ened by internal and external attacks, Lord Graham, then become 
Duke of Montrose, enrolled himself as a private soldier in the City 
Light Horse. During several successive years he did duty in that 
capacity night and day, sacrificing to it his ease and his time, thus 
holding out an example worthy of imitation to the British nobility.' 

The Duke was succeeded by his son James, fourth Duke, who was 
Lord-Lieutenant of Stirlingshire, and commander of the Royal 
Archers of Scotland. He was esteemed and liked as a nobleman of 
an amiable disposition, but he took no prominent part in public 
affairs. He died in 1874, and was succeeded by his third and only 
surviving son — ■ 

Douglas Beresford Malise Ronald Graham, the fifth and 
present Duke, born in 1852. Lady Beatrice Violet, the second 
daughter of the late Duke, wife of the Hon. Algernon W. Fulke- 
Greville, is the authoress of several clever and popular works. 
Lady Alma, the youngest daughter, is the present Marchioness of 


HIS gallant soldier and skilful general was the greatest 
man produced by the family of Graham since the illus- 
trious Marquis of Montrose. He was descended in the 
direct line from Sir William Graham of Kincardine, and 
Mary Stewart, a daughter of Robert III. Sir William was the 
ancestor of the Dukes of Montrose, the Earls of Strathern and 
Menteith, and all the other branches of the ' gallant Grahams.' 
Thomas Graham was the third and only surviving son of Thomas 
Graham (or Graeme, as he spelled his name) of Balgowan, in Perth- 
shire, by his wife, Lady Christian Hope, a daughter of the first Earl 
of Hopetoun. He was born in 1748, and received his early education 
at home, under the tuition first of the Rev. Mr. Fraser, minister of 
Monedie, and afterwards of the celebrated James Macpherson, the 
collector and translator of Ossian's poems. Young Graham was 
sent to Christchurch, Oxford, in 1766, and in the following year the 
death of his father put him in possession of a handsome and unen- 
cumbered estate. On leaving college, he spent several years on the 
Continent, where he acquired a thorough knowledge of the French 
and German languages. On his return to Scotland he devoted him- 
self to the management and improvement of his estate. He enclosed 
his lands, erected comfortable farmhouses and offices, granted leases 
to his tenants, encouraged them to provide improved implements of 
husbandry, and to cultivate on a large scale potatoes and turnips, 
which had hitherto been regarded as mere garden plants. He also 
set himself with great care to cultivate improved breeds of horses, 
cattle, and sheep. He purchased, in 1785, the estate of Lynedoch 
or Lednoch, situated in a picturesque part of the valley of the 
Almond, and took great delight in planting trees and oak coppices, 
and in beautifying the sloping banks which border the course of 

170 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

that stream. From his boyhood upwards, he was fond of horses 
and dogs, and was distinguished for his skill in all country sports, for 
which his stalwart and athletic frame eminently fitted him. He rode 
with the foxhounds, and accompanied the Duke of Athole, who sub- 
sequently became his brother-in-law, in grouse-shooting and deer- 
stalking on the Athole moors. He used to say, in after years, that he 
owed much of that education of the eye with reference to ground and 
distances, so useful to a military man, to his deer-hunting at this 
period of his life in the Forest of Athole. 

At the age of twenty-four, Mr. Graham offered himself as a candi- 
date, in the Whig interest, for the representation of the county of 
Perth, in opposition to the brother of the Duke of Athole, but was 
defeated by a majority of only six votes. Two years later (1774) he 
married Mary, second daughter of the ninth Earl Cathcart, a lady of 
remarkable beauty and accomplishments. Her elder sister, on the 
same day, became Duchess of Athole. 'Jane,' wrote Lord Cathcart, 
' has married, to please herself, John, Duke of Athole, a peer of the 
realm ; Mary has married Thomas Graham of Balgowan, the man of 
her heart, and a peer among princes.' The laird of Balgowan was 
distinguished for his accomplishments as a scholar as well as for his 
skill in the cultivation of his estate, and with his books, the improve- 
ment of his property, his field-sports, and, above all, the society of 
his lovely and amiable wife, he spent eighteen years in the tranquil 
and happy condition of a country gentleman, beloved by his 
neighbours and tenantry, distinguished only as a daring rider and 
sportsman, and a good classical scholar. 

Mr. and Mrs. Graham lived mostly at home, but they occasionally 
spent a few weeks in Edinburgh and London, and in connection with 
these visits several interesting anecdotes are told of Mr. Graham's 
devotion to his wife and of the manner in which he showed his 
anxiety to promote her welfare. On one occasion, when the affec- 
tionate pair went to Edinburgh to attend a ball, Mrs. Graham dis- 
covered, on the morning of the day on which it was to take place, 
that she had left her jewel-box at Balgowan. Her husband cheered 
her in these annoying circumstances by reminding her that ' beauty, 
when unadorned, is adorned the most,' and said that she need not 
expect him to dinner, but that he would return in time for the ball. 
Without any hint as to his intention, he left the house, threw him- 
self on horseback, and rode back to Balgowan — a distance of forty- 
five miles, including a ferry. Relays of horses by the way enabled 

Thomas Graham, Lord Ly?iedoch. 17 1 

him to reach Edinburgh, bringing Mrs. Graham's jewel-box, in time 
for the ball. 

An incident which befell Mr. Graham in London gives a strange 
idea of the state of the metropolis at that time. He was one day 
driving, with the Duchess of Athole and his wife, from Pall Mall 
to Grosvenor Square, to attend a party. The carriage was stopped 
in Park Lane — opposite the Marquis of Hertford's house — by a 
highwayman, who, pistol in hand, demanded their money, jewels, 
and watches, while other two men seized the horses' heads. Park 
Lane was then unlighted, and the police were not only ineffi- 
cient, but not unfrequently in collusion with thieves and house- 
breakers. Mr. Graham, who was at the opposite side of the carriage, 
sprang across the ladies to the carriage-door, and collaring the 
assailant, threw him to the ground. Then, drawing his sword, which 
at that period formed part of a dress suit, he threatened to run the 
man through, if his associates holding the horses' heads attempted 
to come to his assistance. They immediately fled, and the prostrate 
highwayman was given into custody. 

In the autumn of 1787, Mrs. Graham happened to be on a visit at 
Blair, to the Duchess of Athole, along with their youngest sister, 
Miss Cathcart, then in her seventeenth year, when Robert Burns, at 
that time on a tour in the Highlands, came with a letter of introduc- 
tion to the Duke. His Grace was from home, but the visitor was 
cordially welcomed by the Duchess, and the Duke returned before 
he left Blair. The poet afterwards declared that the two days (Sep- 
tember 1st and 2nd) which he spent there, were among the happiest 
days of his life. In a letter which he wrote from Inverness, on 
September 5th, to Mr. Walker, afterwards Professor of Humanity, 
of Glasgow, who was then residing at Blair Athole, enclosing his 
well-known ' Humble Petition of Bruar Water,' the poet says, ' The 
4 little-angel band " — I declare I prayed for them very sincerely to- 
day at the Fall of Fyers. I shall never forget the fine family-piece I 
saw at Blair : the amiable, the truly noble Duchess, with her smiling 
little seraph in her lap, at the head of the table ; the lovely " olive- 
plants," as the Hebrew bard finely says, round the happy mother; 
the beautiful Mrs. Graham ; the lovely sweet Miss Cathcart, &c. I 
wish I had the power of Guido to do them justice.' * 

* Sad to tell, these three lovely sisters all passed away in the flower of their youth. 
The Duchess survived Burns's visit only three years, and Mrs. Graham five. Miss 
Cathcart, who was singularly amiable as well as beautiful, was cut off at twenty-four. 
And yet other three members of the Cathcart family lived to a great age. 

I y 2 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

In order to induce Burns to visit her and her husband at Lyne- 
doch, Mrs. Graham offered to conduct him to a spot hallowed in 
Scottish song — the graves of Bessie Bell and Mary Gray, which 
lie in the bosom of that romantic estate.* He promised to do so, and 
there is every probability that he performed his promise when he 
visited Mr. Ramsay of Auchtertyre in the following October. It is 
not unworthy of mention that Lord Lynedoch had a handsome iron 
railing placed round these celebrated graves, and caused them to be 
neatly trimmed, and covered with wild flowers. 

No happiness on earth, however, is permanent. Mrs. Graham's 
health beean to decline, and on the recommendation of her medical 
adviser she went, in the spring of 1792, to the south of France, 
along with her husband and sister. But the expedient proved un- 
availing, and she died on board ship, off the coast near Hyeres, on 
the 26th of June. Her sorrowing husband returned home, and 
deposited her remains in a mausoleum which he built in the church- 
yard of Methven, where, after the lapse of upwards of half a century, 
he was himself laid in the same tomb. 

The loss of his wife preyed deeply upon Mr. Graham's mind, and 
having in vain sought, by a twelvemonth's foreign travel, to alleviate 
his great sorrow, though now in the forty-third year of his age, he 
tried to drown the thought of his irreparable loss amid the toils and 
dangers of a military life. 

Sir Walter Scott, in his ' Vision of Don Roderick,' thus touchingly 
refers to the motive which led the sorrowing husband of Mrs. 
Graham to devote himself to a military career : — 

1 Nor be his praise o'erpast who strove to hide 

Beneath the warrioi's vest affection's wound; 
Whose wish Heaven for his country's weal denied ; 
Danger and fate he sought, but glory found. 
From clime to clime, where'er war's trumpets sound 

• Bessie Bell was the daughter of the Laird of Kinnaird, and M ary Gray of the 
Laird of Lynedoch. An intimate friendship existed between them, and when the 
plague of 1666 broke out, the two young ladies built themselves a house in a retired 
and romantic spot, called the Burnbraes, about three-quarters of a mile westward from 
Lynedoch House, where they resided for some time, and were supplied with food by a 
young gentleman of Perth, who, it is said, was in love with them both. The disease 
was unfortunately communicated to them by their lover, and proved fatal. ' The pest 
came frae the burrows-toun, and slew them baith thegither.' They were buried in a 
sequestered spot called the Dronach Haugh, at the foot of a brae of the same name, 
upon the banks of the river Almond. The beauty and the fate of these ' twa bonnie 
lasses ' are commemorated in an old ballad bearing their name. 

Thomas Graham, Lord Lynedoch. 173 

The wanderer went ; yet Caledonia ! still 

Thine was his thought in march and tented ground : 
He dreamed 'mid Alpine cliffs of Athole's hill, 
And heard in Ebro's roar his Lynedoch's lovely rill." * 

Mr. Graham joined, as a volunteer, the British troops sent to 
assist in the defence of Toulon, one of the few places which held out 
against the French Revolutionary Government. Napoleon Bonaparte, 
then a lieutenant of artillery, took part in the siege. Graham distin- 
guished himself so greatly by his courage and energy, that Lord 
Mulgrave (to whom he acted as aide-de-camp), in a general order 
referring to the repulse of an attack by the French on an important 
fort, expressed 'his grateful sense of the friendly and important 
assistance which he had received in many difficult moments from 
Mr. Graham, and to add his tribute of praise to the general voice of 
the British and Piedmontese officers of his column, who saw with so 
much pleasure and applause the gallant example which Mr. Graham 
set to the whole column, in the foremost point of every attack.' On 
one occasion, when a private soldier was killed, Graham snatched up 
his musket and took his place at the head of the attacking column. 
It is worthy of notice that it was at Toulon he first became 
acquainted with his life-long friend, Rowland Hill, then a captain, 

who ultimately became Viscount Hill, and commander-in-chief of the 
British army. 

On his return to Scotland, Mr. Graham raised, in Perthshire, the 
first battalion of the 90th regiment (Balgowan's ' Grey Breeks,' as 
they were called), of which he was appointed lieutenant-colonel in 
1794, and nominated Rowland Hill major. Shortly after he was 
unanimously chosen to represent the county of Perth in Parliament. 
In 1795 he was stationed with his regiment at Gibraltar; but, soon 
becoming wearied of the listlessness of garrison duty, he obtained 
permission to join the Austrian army on the Rhine as British Com- 
missioner. In this capacity he shared in the disastrous campaign of 
1796, and afterward assisted Wurmser in the defence of Mantua, 
when it was invested by the French under General Bonaparte. The 

* A beautiful whole-length portrait of Mrs. Graham, which was painted by Gains- 
borough, is regarded as a masterpiece of pictorial art. At her death it was inclosed in 
a case, and deposited in the back room of a picture-frame maker in London, where it 
remained unopened during Lord Lynedoch's lifetime. He was never again able to 
look upon the 'counterfeit presentment' of the face and form so dear to him. This 
exquisite work of art was presented bv his cousin and heir, Robert Graham Esq of 
Kedgorton, to the Scottish National Gallery in Edinburgh. 

174 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

garrison was reduced to the greatest extremities from want of provi- 
sions, and Colonel Graham undertook the perilous duty of conveying 
intelligence to the Imperialist General Alvinzi, at Bassano, fifty 
miles distant, of their desperate situation. Quitting the fortress, 
wearing a cloak of the country over his uniform, on the 24th of 
December, amid rain and sleet, he crossed the Mincio, in a boat 
which was repeatedly stranded in consequence of the darkness. He 
pursued his way on foot during the night, wading through deep 
swamps, and crossing numerous watercourses and the river Po, in 
constant danger of losing his way, or of being shot by the French 
pickets, and at daybreak he concealed himself till the return of night, 
when he resumed his journey. After surmounting numerous hard- 
ships and perils, he at length reached in safety, on the 4th of 
January, the headquarters of the Austrian general. But on the 
14th the Austrians were defeated, and Mantua, soon after, was forced 
to surrender. 

Colonel Graham now returned to Scotland, but in the autumn of 
1797 he rejoined his regiment at Gibraltar. In the following year 
he took part, under Sir Charles Stuart, in the reduction of Minorca, 
where he greatly distinguished himself. He then repaired to Sicily, 
and obtained the warmest acknowledgments of the King and Queen 
of Naples for his effective exertions on their behalf. In 1798 he 
was entrusted with the charge of the operations against the important 
island of Malta, which was at that time in the possession of the 
French. With the local rank of brigadier-general, he had under his 
command the 30th and 89th regiments, and some corps embodied 
under his immediate direction. Owing to the great strength of the 
place, he was obliged to resort to a blockade, and after being invested 
for nearly two years, the garrison were compelled by famine to 
surrender in September, 1800, and the island has ever since re- 
mained a portion of the British Empire. Colonel Graham's services 
were very shabbily acknowledged by the Government of that day, 
who reserved their patronage and honours for the officers belonging 
to their own political party. In the summer of 1801 he proceeded 
to Egypt, where his regiment (the 90th) had greatly distinguished 
itself under Sir Ralph Abercromby, but he did not arrive until the 
campaign had terminated by the capitulation of the French army. 
He availed himself of the opportunity, however, to make a tour in 
that country and in Turkey. He spent some time in Constantinople, 
whence he travelled on horseback to Vienna — a journey which in later 

Thomas Graham, Lord Lynedoch. 175 

years he used to mention as one of the most agreeable rides he had 
ever enjoyed. 

After spendingsome time in the discharge of his parliamentary duties, 
and in attending to the improvement of his estates, Colonel Graham 
was stationed with his regiment in Ireland, and was then sent to the 
West Indies, where he remained for three years. When the Ministry 
of 'All the Talents' was dismissed in 1807, on account of the favour 
they had shown for the Roman Catholic claims to equal privileges, 
Colonel Graham supported their policy, and denounced as hypocrisy 
the cry of ' No Popery ' raised by Mr. Perceval. But his approval 
of the proceedings of the Whig Ministry, and of Roman Catholic 
emancipation did not find favour with the Perthshire electors — a 
small body in those days — and on the dissolution of Parliament in 
May, 1807, Colonel Graham declined to seek re-election, and Lord 
James Murray was returned without opposition in his stead. 

In 1808 Colonel Graham accompanied Sir John Moore as his 
aide-de-camp to Sweden, and then to Spain. He served with 
that distinguished officer throughout the whole of his campaign, 
terminating in the arduous and trying retreat to Corunna, in which 
Graham's services were especially valuable to the harassed troops. 
As Sheridan said in the House of Commons, ' In the hour of peril 
Graham was their best adviser ; in the hour of disaster Graham 
was their surest consolation.' When Sir John Moore received his 
death-wound at the battle of Corunna, Colonel Graham was at his 
right hand, and had his left hand on the mane of Sir John's horse. 
He at once rode away for medical assistance. Before he returned 
his dying general missed him, and anxiously asked, ' Are Colonel 
Graham and my aides-de-camp safe ? ' — one of his last inquiries. 
The remains of the gallant and noble-minded general were carried 
first to Colonel Graham's quarters, and he was one of the select 
company who witnessed the memorable scene of Moore's burial on 
the rampart of the citadel of Corunna. 

After his return to England, Colonel Graham was promoted to 
the rank of major-general, and was appointed, in the summer of 
1809, to command a division under the incompetent and indolent 
Lord Chatham, in the fatal Walcheren expedition. An attack of 
malaria fever, however, compelled him to return home. On his 
recovery he was raised to the rank of lieutenant-general, and was 
sent to Spain, to take command of the British and Portuguese 
troops in Cadiz, which was at that time closely invested by the 

176 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

French. The British Government attached great importance to the 
possession of Cadiz, as it was the last stronghold of the patriotic 
cause in the Peninsula. But, as Sir William Napier remarked, while 
' money, troops, and a fleet — in line, all things necessary to render 
Cadiz formidable — were collected, yet to little purpose, because 
procrastinating jealousy, ostentation, and a thousand absurdities, 
were the invariable attendants of Spanish armies and government.' 
General Graham resolved to make a resolute effort to raise the 
siege by attacking the rear of the besieging army, and in Februarv, 
181 1, he sailed from Cadiz with a force of upwards of 4,000 men, 
accompanied by 7,000 Spanish troops, under General La Pena, to 
whom, for the sake of unanimity, the chief command was unfor- 
tunately conceded. The allied troops assembled at Tarifa, in the 
Straits of Gibraltar, and, moving northward, they arrived, on the 
morning of the 5th of March, at the heights of Barossa, which were 
on the south of Cadiz and of the lines of the besieging - army. The 
cowardice and stupidity of the Spanish general placed the force in 
imminent peril. By his instructions, General Graham moved down 
from the position of Barossa to that of the Torre de Bermeja, about 
half-way to the Santi Petri river, in order to secure the communi- 
cation across that river. While marching through the wood towards 
the Barmeja, Graham received notice that the enemy was advancing 
in force towards the height of Barossa. As that position was the 
key of that of Santi Petri, Graham immediately countermarched, in 
order to support the troops left for its defence ; but before the British 
rorce could get themselves quite disengaged from the wood, he saw 
to his astonishment the Spanish troops under La Pena abandoning 
the Barossa hill, which the French left wing was rapidly ascending. 
At the same time their right wing stood in the plain on the edge 
of the wood, within cannon-shot. 'A retreat,' as he says, 'in the 
face of such an enemy, already within reach of the easy communi- 
cation by the sea-beach, must have involved the whole allied army in 
all the danger of being attacked during the unavoidable confusion 
of the different corps arriving on the narrow ridge of the Barmeja at 
the same time. Trusting,' as he says, ' to the known heroism of 
British troops, regardless of the numbers and position of the enemy,' 
General Graham determined on an immediate attack. In the centre 
a powerful battery of ten guns, under Major Duncan, opened a 
most destructive fire upon General Laval's division, which, how- 
ever, continued to advance in very imposing masses, but was com- 

Thomas Graham, Lord Lynedoch. 177 

pletely defeated by a determined charge of the British left wing- ; 
and the eagle of the 8th regiment of light infantry, and a howitzer, 
were captured. A reserve formed beyond the narrow valley, across 
which the enemy was closely pursued, next shared the same fate. 
Meanwhile the right wing was not less successful. General Ruffin's 
division, confident of success, met it on the ascent of the hill, and, 
after a sanguinary conflict, was driven from the heights in confusion, 
leaving two pieces of cannon in the hands of the victors. 

'No expressions of mine,' said General Graham, in his despatch 
to the Earl of Liverpool, 'could do justice to the conduct of the 
troops throughout. Nothing less than the almost unparalleled 
exertions of every officer, the invincible bravery of every soldier, 
and the most determined devotion to the honour of his Majesty's 
arms in all, could have achieved this brilliant success against such a 
formidable enemy so posted.' 

' The contemptible feebleness of La Pena,' says Sir William 
Napier, ' furnished a surprising contrast to the heroic vigour of 
Graham, whose attack was an inspiration rather than a resolution — 
so sure, so sudden was the decision, so swift, so conclusive was the 
execution.' * 

The French lost about three thousand men in this brilliant action, 
and six pieces of cannon and an eagle were captured, along with 
nearly five hundred prisoners, among whom were Generals Rufhn 
and Rosseau. The loss on the side of the victors was two hundred 
killed, and upwards of nine hundred were wounded. Had it not 
been for the imbecility and obstinacy of the Spanish general, the 
victory might have had the effect of raising the blockade of Cadiz. 
'Had the whole body of the Spanish cavalry,' wrote Graham, 'with the 
horse artillery, been rapidly sent by the sea-beach to form on the 
plain, and to envelop the enemy's left ; had the greatest part of the 
infantry been marched through the pine wood to the rear of the British 
force, to turn his right, he must either have retired instantly, or he 
would have exposed himself to absolute destruction ; his cavalry 
greatly encumbered, his artillery lost, his columns mixed and in 
confusion ; and a general dispersion would have been the inevitable 
consequence of a close pursuit. But the movement was lost.' 

Lord Wellington, in a despatch to General Graham, says: — 

' I beg to congratulate you and the brave troops under your com- 
mand on the signal victory which you gained on the 5th instant. I 
* Napier's History of the Peninsular War, iii. Appendix. 


178 TJic Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

have no doubt whatever that their success would have had the effect of 
raising the siege of Cadiz, if the Spanish troops had made any effort 
to assist them; and I am equally certain, from your account of the 
ground, that if you had not decided with the utmost promptitude to 
attack the enemy, and if your attack had not been a most vigorous 
one the whole allied army would have been lost.' * 

The Spanish general, in order to screen himself from merited 
obloquy, circulated false and calumnious accounts of the battle, 
which General Graham exposed by publishing in Spanish, as well as 
in English, his dispatch to Lord Liverpool, along with a letter to the 
British envoy, in vindication of his conduct. Lord Wellington men- 
tions that La Pena was to be brought to a court-martial, but nothing 
is known of the result. The Cortez voted to General Graham the 
title of grandee of the first class ; he, however, declined the honour. 
For his brilliant victory at Barossa he received the thanks of Parlia- 
ment, in his place as a member of the House of Commons. 

Graham shortly after joined the army under Wellington, and was 
appointed second in command. In January, 181 2, he took part in 
the siege and capture of Ciudad Rodrigo, and Wellington declared 
that he was much indebted to him for the success of the enterprise. 
Three months later he and his friend General Hill received the Order 
of the Bath. A complaint in his eyes, from which he had been suf- 
fering for some time, made it necessary for Graham to return home 
at this juncture. ' I cannot avoid feeling the utmost concern,' wrote 
Wellington to him, 'that this necessity should have become urgent 
at this moment, and that I should now be deprived of your valuable 
assistance.' At the general election in October, 1812, Sir Thomas 
Graham contested the county of Perth with Mr. Drummond (after- 
wards Lord Strathallan), but though he was supported by a number 
of influential Tories, he lost the election by a majority of seven votes. 

His visit to Scotland had the effect of restoring his eyesight, and 
in May, 18 13, he rejoined the army at Frinada, on the frontiers 
of Portugal, bringing with him the insignia of the Order of the 
Garter to Lord Wellington. On the 22nd of May the British force 
quitted Portugal and moved upon Vittoria in three divisions. The 
left wing, which was commanded by Sir Thomas Graham, had tc 
cross three large rivers — the Douro, the Esla, and the Ebro — and 
had to force positions of great strength among the passes of the 
mountains, continually pressing round the right wing of the retiring 
i The Duke of Wellington s Despatches, viL 3S2. 

Tiiomas GraJiam, Lord Lynedoch. 179 

French army. General Graham took a prominent part in the battle 
of Vittoria (21st June), when the French were beaten 'before the 
town, n the town, about the town, and out of the town;' and, by 
carrying- the villages of Gamarra and Abecherco at the point of the 
bayonet, he intercepted the retreat of the enemy by the high road to 
Bayonne, and compelled them to turn to that leading to Pampeluna. 
He was shortly after directed to conduct the siege of the strong 
fortress of St. Sebastian, which was defended with great gallantry 
and skill by General Rey. The first assault, which took place on the 
25th of July, was repulsed with heavy loss, and the siege had in con- 
sequence to be raised for a time. It was renewed, however, after 
the defeat of Soult in the battles of the Pyrenees, and a second 
attempt to carry the fortress by storm was made on the 31st of 
August. The breach was found to present almost insuperable 
obstacles, and the storming party strove in vain to effect a lodge- 
ment. In this almost desperate state of the attack, General Graham 
ordered a heavy fire of artillery to be directed against the curtain, 
passing only a few feet over the heads of our troops in the breach. 
This novel expedient was completely successful. Taking advantage 
of an explosion on the rampart caused by the fire of the guns, which 
created confusion among the enemy, the assailants gained a footing 
on the wall, and after a sanguinary struggle, which lasted two hours, 
forced their way into the town. On the 9th of September the brave 
Governor Rey surrendered the citadel, and the garrison, reduced to 
one-third of their number, marched out with the honours of war. 
The reduction of this important place cost the allies three thousand 
eight hundred men in killed and wounded. 

At the passage of the Bidassoa, which separates France and Spain, 
General Graham commanded the left wing of the British army, and, 
after an obstinate conflict, succeeded in establishing his victorious 
troops on the French territory. But the return of the complaint in 
his eyes, and the general state of his health, obliged him to resign his 
command and return home. In return for his eminent services, he 
now received a third time the thanks of Parliament, and the freedom 
of the cities of London and Edinburgh was conferred upon him. His 
health was so far recovered that early in 1814 he was able to take the 
command of the British forces in Holland, and directed the unsuc- 
cessful attempt, March 8th, to carry the strong fortress of Bergen- 
op-Zoom by a night attack. On the 3rd of May, 18 14, he was 
raised to the peerage by the title of Baron Lynedoch of Balgowan ; 

180 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

but, in keeping with his disinterested and high-minded character, 
he declined the grant of ^2,000 a year, to himself and to his heirs, 
which was voted as usual to accompany the title. Other honours, 
both British and foreign, were heaped upon him. He was made a 
Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St. Michael and St. George, of 
the Spanish Order of St. Ferdinand, and of the Portuguese Order 
of the Tower and Sword. He was raised to the full rank of general 
in 1 82 1, was nominated colonel of the 14th Foot in 1826, which in 
1834 he exchanged for that of the Royals. He was elected Rector 
of the University of Glasgow, and in 1829 was appointed Governor 
of Dumbarton Castle, a post of more honour than profit, as the salary 
was only ^170 a year. 

The old age of the gallant veteran was spent among a wide 
circle of friends, by whom he was held in the highest esteem and 
honour, and his exploits were celebrated, even during his lifetime, 
both by the poetic and the historic muse. He took a warm interest 
in public events, and gave a steady support to the Whig Ministry 
under Earl Grey, and Lord Melbourne. He travelled frequently 
on the Continent, and visited not only Italy, Germany, and France, 
but Denmark, Sweden, and Russia. In the end of the autumn of 
1 84 1, only two years before his death, he travelled through France 
to Genoa and Rome. His riding-horses were sent on to Rome, 
and he rode frequently in the Campagna. Lord Cockburn gives 
an interesting sketch in his Journal of the appearance of the 
gallant veteran, under the date of October 24th, 1837. 'I dined 
at Craigcrook,' he wrote, 'on the 21st, and at the New Club 
yesterday, for the first time since he was couched for cataract, 
with one of the finest specimens of an old gentleman — Lord Lyne- 
doch. He is better even than the Chief Commissioner, in so far 
as he is a year or two older. At the age of about eighty-eight, 
his mind and body are both perfectly entire. He is still a great 
horseman, drives to London night and day in an open carriage, eats 
and drinks like an ordinary person, hears as well as others ; sees 
well enough, after being operated upon, for all practical purposes, 
reading included; has the gallantry and politeness of an old soldier; 
enjoys and enlivens every company, especially where there are 
ladies, by a plain, manly, sensible, well-bred manner, and a conver- 
sation rich in his strong judgment, and with a memory full of the 
most interesting scenes and people of the last seventy years. Large 
in bone and feature, his head is finer than Jupiter's. It is like a 

Thomas Graham y Lord Lynedoch. 181 

grey, solid, war-worn castle. Nor has it only been in the affairs of 
war that his manly, chivalrous spirit has made him admired and 
loved. He has always taken a decided part in politics, on the 
popular side, and is one of the old Whigs, who find nothing good 
prevailing now but what he fought for and anticipated long ago. 
He is one of the men who make old age lovely.' * 

Lord Lynedoch continued to the last his early rising, his active 
habits, and temperate mode of living, his interest in rural affairs, 
and in the management and adornment of his estate. Only four 
weeks before his death he sent down from London to his gardener a 
number of trees and shrubs, with minute directions where they were 
to be planted. His hand is still to be traced in every corner of the 
Lynedoch estate. He died in London on the 1 8th of December, 
1843, in the ninety-sixth year of his age, after a very short illness: 
indeed, he rose and dressed himself on the day of his death. 

In his person Lord Lynedoch was tall, square-shouldered, and 
erect, his limbs sinewy and remarkably strong. His complexion 
was dark, with full eyebrows, firm-set lips, and an open, benevolent 
air. His manners and address were frank, simple, and polished. 
He was greatly beloved by his friends, and esteemed and trusted by 
his tenantry and neighbours. He has left a name, as Mr. Abbot, the 
Speaker of the House of Commons, said, ' never to be mentioned in 
our military annals without the strongest expression of respect and 

* Journal of Henry Cockburn, i. 149. 



[HE Grahams of Esk, Netherby, and Nortox-Conyers, 
the most important of the minor branches of the family 
of Graham, are descended from Sir John Graham of 
Kilbride, near Dunblane, second son of Malise, first 
Earl of Strathern. On account of his distinguished courage and 
daring exploits, he was commonly surnamed 'John with the Bright 
Sword.' Having fallen into disfavour at Court, probably on account 
of some of the sanguinary feuds of his day, Sir John retired, 
with a considerable number of his kinsmen and clan, to the Borders, 
in the reign of Henry IV., and settled in 'the Debateable Land' — a 
strip of territory on the banks of the river Esk, near the Solway 
Firth — so called because it was claimed both by Scotland and 
England. ' They were all stark moss-troopers,' says Mr. Sandford, 
' and arrant thieves ; both to England and Scotland outlawed ; yet 
sometimes connived at, because they gave intelligence forth of Scot- 
land, and would raise four hundred horse at any time upon a raid of 
the English into Scotland.' A saying is recorded of a mother to 
her son (which is now become proverbial), ' Ride, Rowley, hough's 
i' the pot ;' that is, the last piece of beef was in the pot, and there- 
fore it was high time tor him to go and fetch more.* Sir Walter 
Scott says that this fierce and hardy race — 

' Whoever lost, were sure to win ; 
They sought the beeves that made their broth, 
In Scotland and in England both.'f 

They plundered both countries with impunity, for as the wardens of 
both accounted them the proper subjects of their own sovereign, 
neither would demand redress of their ravages from the officer of the 

* Introduction to the History of Cumbcrla?id. 
\ Lay of the Last Minstrel, canto vi. 

The Grahams of Esk, Nctlierby, and Norton- Conyers. 183 

other kingdom, which would have been an acknowledgment of his 
jurisdiction over them, and they could not agree to unite in punish- 
ing their outrages. 

On the transference of the Court to London, at the union of the 
Crowns, the freebooters renewed their plundering raids more exten- 
sively than ever, and King James was constrained to issue a Com- 
mission for the settlement of the Borders. One of the first steps 
taken by the Commissioners was to deal with the unruly and irre- 
claimable Grahams. Finding themselves at last in the grasp of the 
law, they sent a petition to the King, setting forth ' that they, and 
others inhabiting within the bounds of Eske and Leven, being the 
borders of the realme of England against Scotland, are men brought 
up in ignorance, and not having had meanes to learne their due 
obedience to God, and your most excellent Majestie, of late, and 
immediately after the death of the Queen's most excellent Majestie, 
your Majestie' s late dear sister, did disorderly and tumultuously 
assemble ourselves with all the warlike force and power that they 
could make, and being so disorderlie assembled, did invade the 
inlande part of the easte parte of the county of Cumberland, and 
spoiled many of your subjects of England with fire, sword, robbery, 
and reaving of their goods, and murthering and taking prisoners 
the persons of the same, which are misdemeanour ; albeit we cannot 
excuse our ignorance, for that by the lawes of God we do knowe that 
all rebelling, reaving, and murthers are altogether forbidden, yet so 
it is, that some among us of evil and corrupt judgment did persuade 
us, that untill your Majestie was a crowned kinge within the realme 
of Englande, that the lawe of the same kingdome did cease and was 
of no force, and that all actes and offences whatsoever done and 
committed in the meane tyme, were not by the common justice of 
this realme punishable by force, of the which malitious error put 
into our heads, as deceived men, and believing overreddy that grosse 
untruth, we did most injudiciously run upon your Majestie's inland 
subjectis, and did them many wronges, both by fyer, sword, and 
taking there goodes, in such sort as before we have acknowledged.' 

The admission that they imagined that during the interval between 
the death of Elizabeth and the coronation of James the country was 
in a lawless state, and every man was entitled to do ' what was right 
in his own eyes,' is exceedingly naive and significant. 

After professing their sorrow for their misdeeds, they beseech his 
Majesty that he will be pleased ' now at our humble suit to grant 

184 The Great Historic Fa?nilies of Scotland. 

unto us the saving of our lives, which now is in your highnesse by 
the justice of your lawes, to take from us at your highnesse good 
pleasure, and that your Majestie will be pleased to relegate and 
banish us (as a tumultuous collony) into some other parte of your 
kingdome, there to spend the residue of our miserable and sorrowful 
dayes in lamenting and sorrowing for our offences.' 

The Commissioners evidently felt that it was hopeless to attempt 
the reformation of these hereditary reivers so long as they continued 
in their native haunts. They therefore resolved to try the effect of 
sending a large detachment of them out of the country and exposing 
them to new and more healthy influences and motives abroad. 

On the 17th of May, 1605, the Privy Council wrote 'that his 
Majesty having spared their lives, which otherwise were forfeited 
through their crimes, his clemency further appeared in that he is 
pleased to dispose of them as may be greatly for their good, and in 
such sorte as they shall be in no worse condition than his Majesty's 
good subjects that were no offenders, being as they are appointed 
to be sent to serve in the garrisons and cautionary towns of 
Flushing and Brill, places where many honest men desire to be 
maintained in service.' 

A copy is given of ' the names of Grames which are to be sent 
away.' Some of the names are accompanied by the sobriquets by 
which they were familiarly known, such as ' Richard Grame,' alias 
' Jocks Ritchie ; ' ' John Grame,' alias ' All our Kaines ; ' ' Richard 
Grame,' alias ' Lang Ritchie ; ' ' Andrew Grame of Sarkeyde,' alias 
* Little Andrew ; ' 'Richard Grame,' alias 'Richie of Galloway.' 
The custom of using by-names was, indeed, universal among the 
Border freebooters at this period, and most of them were better 
known by their sobriquets than by their own proper names; 

The list included the name of Richard Graham, son of Walter 
Grame, of Netherby ; and it would appear that the Scottish Com- 
missioners had proposed its omission at their first meeting ; for, on 
j 7th April, 1605, the English Commissioners wrote to them from 
Carlisle stating that the omission of the name ' Richard Grayme, is 
so ill taken that we shall be taxed of partiallyty ; ' and asking the 
consent of their Scottish brethren that 'his name may be added to 
the rest as before yt was.' The Scottish Commissioners next day 
expressed their concurrence in this step ; but a subsequent effort on 
behalf of Richard was made by the Karl ol Montrose, who wrote 
from Holyrood House on the 25th of June, 1605, entreating the 

The Grahams of Esk, Netherby, and Norton- Conyers. 185 

Commissioners to permit young- Graham to remain with him, and 
offering to be ' answerable for him, both to his Majestie, unto the 
Councell, and to your worships.' It is evident that Richard Graham 
must have been notorious for his turbulence and reiving habits, for, 
notwithstanding his position in society, and the powerful influence 
exerted on his behalf, the Commissioners adhered to their decision 
that he must accompany the other Grahams to Flushing on the 
6th of July. But they complied with his request to give him a letter 
of commendation to the governor of that place, setting forth that the 
bearer was son to Walter of Netherby, the chief of all the Graemes 
dwelling betwixt Leven and Sark, and that he, ' mynding to show his 
forwardness in his Majestie' s service, hath desyred us to give testi- 
mony of his birth and place, and that upon his due desert he may 
receive such favour as to his dimerrit shall appertyne, which we 
thinkeing reasonable have thereunto condescended, as also that for 
his better encouragement to go forward to do his highnesse service, 
we have entreated the conductor of the rest to place him as auncient 
of that company.' 

The Commissioners appear to have had some difficulty in making 
up the required number of compulsory emigrants, but it was at last 
completed. The first batch, of fifty, was sent to Brill, and the second, 
of seventy-two, to Flushing. 

Before three weeks had elapsed, however, several of the expatriated 
Grahams began to appear in their former haunts on the Border, to 
the great disgust of the Commissioners. Some of them had pro- 
cured licenses from their officers to come home for two months; 
others had returned without any license at all, among whom was 
Richard of Netherby. On the 23rd of October, 1605, Sir Wilfrid 
Lawson wrote to the Earl of Cumberland, informing him that, in 
addition to the Grahams already reported to him as having returned 
' with license or without,' ' there are still mo coming daily, which is 
greatly to the dislyke of the better and truer sorte of his Majestie's 
subjects heare; and it is lyke, unless there be some order schortly 
taken as well to stay those not yet come, as to send away, or other- 
wise to take some severe course, with those already come without 
lycence, that they will all be schortly at home again.' 

The Privy Council, in the meantime, had informed the Commis- 
sioners, on the 19th of October, that they 'have taken order with 
the Viscount Lisle, Gouvernour of Flushing, that none, from hence* 
forth, shall have any passes, nor be allowed to come over without 

1 86 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

speciall lycense from his Majestie, or of us of his Privy Counsell.' 
As for those who had already come over without license, it was his 
Majesty's pleasure that they were presently to be proceeded with 
according to justice, and be kept safe in prison, until his Majesty be 
made further acquainted with the matter. These restrictions, how- 
ever, failed to compel the Grahams to remain in Flushing. They, 
no doubt, preferred roaming at will over the moors and among the 
glens and mountains of their native land, to being cooped up in a 
Dutch garrison town. The Privy Council were made aware, by the 
14th of November, 1605, that of the seventy -two Grahams sent to 
Flushing, only fourteen remained there, the rest having returned 
home.* It had therefore become necessary to adopt some more 
stringent measures to root them out of their hereditary haunts, and 
accordingly a large number of the clan, along with a body of 
Armstrongs and Elliots, were transported to the north of Ireland, and 
their return prohibited under pain of death. By dint of energy and 
perseverance, these stalwart freebooters prospered greatly in that 
country, and their descendants at the present day form the backbone 
of the industry of Ulster. 

While the clan were thus disposed of, their chiefs prospered as 
regards both rank and possessions Richard Graham, who purchased 
the estate of Netherby and the barony of Liddell from the Earl of 
Cumberland, was created a baronet, in 1629, by the style of Sir 
Richard Graham of Esk. He fought under the royal banner at 
the battle of Edgehill, and was so severely wounded that he was left 
all night among the slain. He was succeeded by his elder son, 
George. His younger son, Richard, was created a baronet in 1662, 
and was the ancestor of the Grahams of Norton Conyers. Sir 
Richard's grandson, the third baronet, was elevated, in 1680, to the 
peerage of Scotland, by the title of Viscount Preston. He was for 
a good many years ambassador to the Court of France, and subse- 
quently Secretary of State to James VII. After the Revolution he 
engaged in a treasonable plot against King William, and on 
December 31st, 1690, along with two of his associates, Ashton and 
Elliot, he was captured on his way to France, with compromising 
letters in his possession. Ashton and the Viscount were brought 
to trial at the Old Bailey, on a charge of treason, and were found 
guilty. Ashton was executed, but Preston saved his life and was 
pardoned on revealing the names of his accomplices. His attainder 
* Second Report of the Historical MSS. Commission, 1S1, 182. 

The Grahams of Esk, Ahtherby, and Norton- Cony crs. 187 

did not affect the Scottish peerage, but on the death of his grandson, 
the third Viscount, the title became extinct. His extensive estates 
passed to his surviving aunt, the Hon. Catherine Graham, wife of 
Lord Widdrington. She died in 1757 without issue, and bequeathed 
the property to her cousin, the Rev. Robert Graham, D.D., grand- 
son of Sir George Graham, second baronet of Esk. James Graham 
of Netherby, his son, was created a baronet in 1782, and was the 
father of the late eminent statesman, Sir James Graham, who filled 
a succession of important offices in the administrations of Earl 
Grey, Sir Robert Peel, and the Earl of Aberdeen. 

Sir John Graham of Kilbride was the ancestor also of the 
Grahams of Gartmore. 


P^p^fCOTT of Satchells, who published, in 1688, ' A True His- 
tory of the Right Honourable name of Scott,' gives the 
following romantic account of the origin of that name. 
Two brothers, natives of Galloway, having been banished 
from that country, for a riot or insurrection, came to Rankleburn, in 
Ettrick Forest, where the keeper, whose name was Brydone, received 
them joyfully on account of their skill in winding the horn, and in the 
other mysteries of the chase. Kenneth MacAlpin, then King of 
Scotland, came soon after to hunt in the royal forest, and pursued a 
buck from Ettrickheugh to the glen now called Buccleuch, about 
two miles above the junction of Rankleburn with the river Ettrick. 
Here the stag stood at bay ; and the King and his attendants, who 
followed on horseback, were thrown out by the steepness of the hill, 
and the morass. John, one of the brothers from Galloway, had 
followed the chase on foot, and now coming in, seized the buck by 
the horns, and, being a man of great strength and activity, threw 
him on his back, and ran with his burden about a mile up a steep 
hill to a place called Cracra Cross, where Kenneth had halted, and 
laid the buck at the sovereign's feet. 

' The deer being curee'd in that place, 

At his Majesty's command, 
Then John of Galloway ran apace, 

And fetched water to his hand. 
The King did wash into a dish, 

And Galloway John he wot; 
He said, " Thy name, now, after this, 

Shall ever be called John Scott. 

' " The forest, and the deer therein, 
We commit to thy hand : 
For thou shalt sure the ranger be, 
If thou obey command ; 

The Scotts of Buccleuch. 189 

.And for the buck thou stoutly brought 

To us up that steep heuch, 
Thy designation ever shall 

Be John Scott, in Buckscleuch." 

' In Scotland no Buckcleuch was then 
Before the buck in the cleuch was slain ; 
Night's men at first they did appear, 
Because moon and stars to their arms they bear; 
Tueir crest, supporters, and hunting-horn, 
Show their beginning from hunting came ; 
Their names and style, the book doth say 
John gained them both into one day.' 

This account of the origin of the Scotts of Buccleuch, however it 
may have originated, though widely believed, is purely fabulous. 
The lands of Buccleuch did not become the property of the family of 
Scott until at least two centuries subsequent to the time of Ken- 
neth III. ; and it was not until the fifteenth century that the desig- 
nation of Scott of Buccleuch began to be used by the head of the 

The cradle of the Scotts was not in Ettrick Forest, but at Scots- 
town and Kirkurd, in the county of Peebles, which still belong to the 
Duke of Buccleuch. Several persons of the name of Scott appear 
as witnesses to charters during the twelfth century, but the first, 
regarding whom there is certain evidence that he was an ancestor of 
the Scotts of Buccleuch, is Richard Scott of Rankleburn and Mur- 
thockstone. His ancestors resided at Scotstown, and, according to 
Satchells, the Cross Kirk of Peebles had been the burial-place of the 
family for several generations. Richard Scott acquired the lands of 
Murthockstone (afterwards Murdieston;in Lanarkshire by his marriage 
to the heiress of that estate. Satchell says — 

1 Scott's Hall he left standing alone, 
And went to live at Mordestoun ; 
And there a brave house he did rear, 
Which to this time it doth appear.' 

Like many other Scottish nobles, both of native and foreign extrac- 
tion, Richard Scott took the oath of fealty to Edward I. of England 
in 1290, and, like his brother nobles, broke his oath on the first 
convenient opportunity. On his doing homage to the English 
monarch, the Sheriff of Selkirk was ordered to restore to him his 
lands and rights, which were then in the hands of King Edward. 
He must, therefore, have been at th it time in possession of Rankle- 

I go The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

burn and Buccleuch, which were situated in the county of Selkirk. 
Richard Scott died about the year 1320, and was succeeded by his 
son, Sir Michael, who must have taken an active part in the war 
with England during the reign of David II., as he obtained the 
honour of knighthood. He fought at the disastrous battle of 
Halidon Hill, 19th July, 1333 ; and was killed, thirteen years after, 
at the battle of Durham, where the King was taken prisoner, along 
with many of his barons and knights. In the genealogical table 
drawn up by Sir Walter Scott, it is stated that Sir Michael left two 
sons, ' the eldest of whom (Robert) carried on the family, the second 
(John) was the ancestor of the Scotts of Harden.' Nothing worthy 
of mention is known of Robert Scott, or of his son, Sir Walter, 
who is said to have been killed at the battle of Homildon, 14th Sep- 
tember, 1402. But Sir Walter's son, Robert, exchanged the lands 
of Glenkery, which were a portion of the lands of Rankleburn, for the 
lands of Bellenden, which then belonged to the monastery of Melrose. 
Bellenden, which was a convenient spot for the gathering of the clan 
from Ettrick, Kirkurd, and Murthockstone, became henceforth the 
place of rendezvous of the Scotts of Buccleuch when they were 
mustered for a Border raid. Robert Scott also acquired half of the 
lands of Branxholm from John Inglis, the laird of Menar, by a 
charter dated 31st January, 1420, and other lands in the barony ot 

Robert Scott was succeeded, in 1426, by his eldest son, Sir 
Walter Scott, Knight, who was the first of the family styled ' Lord 
of Buccleuch.' He possessed the family estates during the long 
period of forty-three years, and added greatly to their extent. His 
first acquisition was the lands of Lempitlaw, near Kelso, from Archi- 
bald, Earl of Douglas, on the resignation of Robert Scott, his father, 
in 1426. He next obtained, in 1437, the barony of Eckford, also in 
Roxburghshire, from James II., as a reward for his capture of Gilbert 
Rutherford, a notorious freebooter; and in 1446 he exchanged the 
estate of Murthockstone, or Murdiestone, for the other half of Branx- 
holm, of which Sir Thomas Inglis of Manor was proprietor. Ac- 
cording to tradition, the exchange took place in consequence of a 
conversation between Scott and Inglis, in which the latter complained 
of the injuries that he suffered from the depredations of the Eng- 
lish Borderers, who frequently plundered his lands of Branxholm. 
Sir Walter Scott, who already possessed the ether half of the barony, 

The Scotts of Bucclcuch. I g I 

offered him the estate of Murdie^tone, in exchange for the lands 
which were exposed to these inroads. The offer was at once accepted. 
When the bargain was completed, Scott made the significant and 
characteristic remark that ' the cattle in Cumberland were as good as 
those of Teviotdale.' He availed himself of the first opportunity to 
commence a system of reprisals for the English raids, which was 
regularly pursued by his successors. An amusing reference to the 
well-known habits of the Scotts is made in the ballad of the ' Outlaw 
Murray,' where Buccleuch is represented as trying to inflame the 
displeasure of the King against the outlaw, and urging the infliction 
of condign punishment upon him for his offences : — 

' Then spak the kene Laird of Buckscleuch, 
A stalworthe man and sterne was he — 
u For a King to gang an Outlaw till, 
Is beneath his state and dignitie. 

u The man that wons yon Foreste intil, 

He lives by reif and felonie ! 
Wherefore brayd on, my sovereign liege, 

WY fire and sword we'll follow thee ; 
Or, gif your courtlie lords fa' back, 

Our Borderers sail the onset gie." 

'Then out and spak the nobil King, 
And round him cast a wylie ee — 
" Now haud thy tongue, Sir Walter Scott, 
Nor speak of reif nor felonie : 
For had every honest man his awin kye, 
A right puir clan thy name wad be ! " ' 

Sir Walter Scott was cousin to Sir William Crichton, the powerful 
and unscrupulous Chancellor of James II., and it was, in all proba- 
bility, through this connection that the Scotts took part with the 
King in his desperate contest with the house of Douglas. In 1455 
the three brothers of the exiled Earl— the Earls of xMoray and 
Ormond, and Lord Balveny— invaded the Scottish borders at the 
head of a powerful force, but were encountered (1st May) at Arkin- 
holm, near Langholm, by the Scotts and other Border clans, under 
the Earl of Angus, and were totally routed. Balveny escaped into 
England, but Moray was killed, and Ormond was wounded, taken 
prisoner, and executed. Sir Walter Scott was liberallv rewarded for 
his services in this conflict. He obtained a grant of Ouhychester 
and Crawford -John— part of the forfeited estates of the Douglases 
— expressly for his meritorious deeds at Arkinholm, and a remission 
ot certain sums of money due to the Crown. Eor the same reason 

1 92 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

the lands of Branxholm were erected into a free barony, in favour of 
David Scott, Sir Walter's son, to be held in blench for the annual 
rendering of a red rose. In various other ways Sir Walter added 
largely to the estates of the family, ^.nd greatly increased their influ- 
ence. He was appointed no less thkn seven times one of the con- 
servators of successive truces with England, along with a number 
of the most powerful barons in the kingdom. He died before 
gth February, 1469, leaving by his wife, Margaret Cockburn of Hen- 
derland,* three sons, and was succeeded by the eldest — 

Sir David Scott, who was the first of the family that bore the 
designation of Buccleuch. The marriage of his son, David Scott 
the younger, to Lady Jane Douglas, daughter of the fourth Earl 
of Angus, and sister of the famous Archibald ' Bell-the-Cat,' the fifth 
Earl, brought him the governorship of the strong castle of Hermitage, 
in Liddesdale, and must have strengthened not a little the position 
of the family. The friendship which subsisted between the Scotts 
and the ' Red Douglases,' whom they assisted to put down their 
1 Black ' kinsmen, was evidently of a very close kind, for provision 
was made in the marriage contract that, ' if David should die, his 
next younger brother was to marry Lady Jane Douglas, and so on 
in regular succession of the brothers ; and that if Lady Jane should 
die, David was to obtain in marriage the next daughter of the Earl 
of Angus, till a marriage was completed 'f — an arrangement which 
showed the influential position of the Scotts at that period. Not- 
withstanding this connection, however, they took opposite sides in 
the contests between James III. and the discontented nobles; and 
the services which David Scott the younger, and his son Robert, 
rendered to that unfortunate sovereign, were acknowledged and 
rewarded bv him with extensive grants of land and other favours. 

Sir David, who died in March, 149 i-?, had four sons. Walter, 
the eldest, died young and unmarried. David, the second son, also 
predeceased his father, leaving an only child, who succeeded to the 
family estates. The Scotts of Scotstown claim to be descended from 
Robert, the third son. William, the fourth son, died before his 
father without leaving issue. 

* Cockburn of Henderland, probably Lady Scott's grand-nephew, fell a victim to 
the raid which James V. made, in 1529, into the Border districts. The pathetic ballad 
ot the Lament of {lie Border Widow, is said to have been written on his execution. 

1 The Scoffs of 'Buccleuch. By William Fraser, i. 47. 

The Scotts of Buccleuch. 193 

Sir Walter Scott of Branxholm succeeded his grandfather, 1492. 
He held the family estates for a very short period, and was succeeded 
by his son of the same name, who represented the house for no less 
than forty-eight years, and by his combined energy and prudence 
became one of the most powerful barons on the Borders. His 
retainers fought under the banner of their sovereign at the battle of 
Flodden, and though very young at that time, it is not improbable 
that he was present as their leader. The list of the slain included 
not a few of the clan, among whom was the kinsman of their chief, 
Sir Alexander Scott of Hassenden, from whom the Scotts of Woll, 
Deloraine, and Haining are descended. In return for the services 
which Sir Walter Scott rendered to the monks of Melrose, he was 
appointed bailie of the abbey lands, an office which became hereditary 
in the Buccleuch family. Notwithstanding his long-continued alliance 
with the Douglases, Sir Walter Scott was a supporter of the Duke 
of Albany, and the French faction, against Queen Margaret and her 
second husband, the Earl of Angus. She alleged that Buccleuch 
had retained part of her dower, arising from lands in Ettrick Forest, 
to the amount of 4,000 merks a year, and she committed Sir Walter 
and Ker of Cessford prisoners to Edinburgh Castle, giving as her 
reason that from the feud which existed between these two powerful 
Border barons, the district was kept in a state of disorder and dis- 
organisation. She asserted that Buccleuch was especially to blame, 
and that he was notorious for the encouragement that he gave to the 
Border freebooters, who made frequent inroads into Northumberland 
and Cumberland. ' Wherefore,' she says, ' I thought best to put 
them both in the castle of Edinburgh, until they find a way how the 
Borders may be well ruled, since it is in their hands to do an they 
will, and not to let them break the Borders, for their evil will among 
themselves.' At this time the chronic disorders in these districts 
were greatly aggravated by the policy of Henry VII T. in encouraging 
the English Borderers to make inroads into Scotland. Norfolk pro- 
mised the King that he would ' lett slippe recently them of Tindail 
and Riddesdail for the annoyance of Scotlande.' He piously adds, 
' God sende them all goode spede.' In the two inroads which 
followed ' much insight gear, catall, horse, and prisoners ' were 
carried off. It need excite no surprise that Buccleuch countenanced 
the Armstrongs and Elliots, in their retaliatory raids into England. 

In the shifting of parties which was continually going on at this 
time, we find Buccleuch in alliance with the Earl of Angus in 1524, 

vol. 11. o 

1 94 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

and two years later in arms against the Douglas faction, who had 
the custody of the young king's person, and ruled the country in the 
most arbitrary manner. James himself was impatient of the restraint 
under which he was placed by Angus, and eagerly sought an oppor- 
tunity to free himself from it. In the summer of 1526 the Earl made 
a progress into Teviotdale, taking the King with him. James 
secretly sent a request to Sir Walter Scott that he would rescue him 
out of the hands of the Douglases. Buccleuch eagerly complied 
with the royal injunction, and immediately levied his retainers and 
friends, comprehending the Elliots, Armstrongs, and other Border 
clans, to the number of six hundred. Angus had passed the night 
of July 24th at Melrose, on his way back from Jedburgh to Edin- 
burgh, and Lord Home and the chiefs of the Kers, who had accom- 
panied him in his expedition, had taken their leave of the King, when, 
in the grey of the morning, Buccleuch and his followers suddenly 
appeared on the northern slope of Halidon Hill, and descending 
into the plain, interposed between Angus and the bridge over the 
Tweed. The Earl immediately sent a messenger to Buccleuch to 
inquire the reason of his appearance at the head of such a force. He 
replied that he came to show his clan to the King, according to the 
custom of the Border chiefs, when their territories were honoured by 
the royal presence. He was then commanded in the King's name 
to dismiss his followers, but he bluntly refused, alleging that he knew 
the King's mind better than Angus. On receiving this haughty 
answer, which was intended and regarded as a defiance, the Earl 
said to the King, ' Sir, yonder is Buccleuch, and the thieves of 
Annandale with him, to interrupt your passage. I vow to God they 
shall either fight or flee ; and ye shall tarry here on this knowe 
[knoll], and my brother George with you, with any other company 
you please, and I shall pass and put yon thieves off the ground, and 
rid the gate unto your Grace, or else die for it.' Angus then alighted, 
and commanding his followers also to dismount, hastened to encounter 
the Scotts, who received them with levelled spears. The battle, 
though fiercely contested, was short, as the Borderers were unequally 
matched against the armed knights in the forces of the Douglases ; 
and the Homes and the Kers returned on hearing the noise of the 
conflict, and, attacking the left wing and rear of Buccleuch's little 
army, put them to flight. About eighty of the Scotts were slain in 
this engagement and the pursuit. The only person of importance 
who fell on the side of the Douglases was Sir Andrew Ker of Cess- 

The Scoffs of Bucdeuch. 195 

ford, who was killed by one of the Elliots, a retainer of Buccleuch, 
while eagerly pressing on the retreating enemy.* He was lamented 
by both parties, and his unhappy slaughter on this occasion caused a 
deadly feud between the Kers and Scotts, which raged during the 
greater part of a century, and led to the murder of Buccleuch in 
Edinburgh by the Kers, in the year 1552. 

Buccleuch was obliged to retire to France, in order to escape the 
vengeance of Angus for this attempt to emancipate his sovereign 
from the yoke of the Douglases. But before leaving the kingdom 
he was required to give security, under a penalty of £ 10,000 Scots, 
that he would not return to Scotland without the King's permission. 
He at length received a pardon on the 10th of February, 1528, 
mainly through the exertions of James himself, and he, at the same 
time, obtained permission to return from France. On the 28th of 
May following, the King succeeded, by his own ingenuity, in freeing 
himself from the power of the Douglases ; and on July 6th he made 
a declaration that Buccleuch, in appearing at the head of his followers 
at Melrose, had only followed his instructions. Sir Walter became 
one of his Majesty's chief advisers in the measures which he adopted 
against the Douglases, and, in consequence, he was denounced by 
the envoys of King Henry as one of ' the chief maintainers of all 
misguided men on the borders of Scotland.' When the forfeited 
estates of Angus were divided among the royal favourites, Sir Walter 
Scott obtained as his share the lands in the lordship of Jedburgh 
Forest, 'for his good, true, and thankful services done to his 

The favour which the King cherished towards Buccleuch did not, 
however, prevent him from imprisoning that chief, along with the 
Earl of Bothwell, Lord Home, Kerr of Ferniehirst,f and other 
powerful protectors of the freebooters and 'broken men,' before 
undertaking his memorable expedition to the Borders, in which 

* An exact parallel to this incident is furnished bv the battle between the partisans 
of King David and the adherents of Ishbosheth, followed by the slaughter of Asahel 
See 2 Samuel ii. 18 — 23. 

The spot where the battle was fought is between Melrose and the adjoining village 
of Darnick, and is called the ' Skirmish Field.' The place where Buccleuch drew up 
his men for the onset is termed < Charge-Law,' and the spot where Elliot turned and 
slew Cessford with his spear is known as ' Turn-again,' and is marked by a stone seat 
which commands a splendid view, and was a favourite resting-place of Sir Walter Scott 
t if i been celeb. ated in Latin verse by a contemporary writer, Mr. John 

Johnson, Professor in the University of St. Andrews. 

+ This is the manner in which the Ferniehirst family spell their name, which differs 
snghtly from the spelling of the Cessford Kers. 

196 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

Johnnie Armstrong and other leaders of the marauders were exe- 
cuted. In the course of a few months, however, with the exception 
of Bothwell, they were liberated on giving- pledges for their allegi- 
ance and peaceable demeanour. 

Strenuous efforts were made by influential friends to heal the 
deadly feud between the Scotts and Kers, and with this view Sir 
Walter Scott, who was now a widower, married, in January, 1530, a 
daughter of Andrew Kerr of Ferniehirst, the head of one of the 
branches of this clan. A bond was also entered into between the 
heads of the chief branches of the two clans that, on the one hand, 
' Sir Walter Scott of Branxholm shall gang, or cause gang, at the 
will of the party, to the four head pilgrimages of Scotland [Scone, 
Dundee, Paisley, and Melrose], and shall say a mass for the souls of 
umquhile Andrew Ker of Cessford and them that were slain in his 
company, in the field of Melrose; and upon his expense shall cause a 
chaplain saye a mass daily, when he is disposed, in what place the 
said Walter Ker and his former friends pleases, for the weil of the said 
souls, for the space of five years next to come.' The chiefs of the Kers 
came under a corresponding obligation to make pilgrimages, and to 
say masses, for the souls of the Scotts who fell in the battle of 
Melrose. Walter Scott also bound himself to marry his son and heir 
to one of the sisters of Walter Ker of Cessford. 

But, as the Minstrel of the clan wrote with reference to this long- 
breathed feud — 

' Can piety the discord heal 

Or stanch the death-feud's enmity ? 
Can Christian love, can patriot zeal, 

Can love of blessed charity ? 
No ! vainly to each holy shrine, 

In mutual pilgrimage they drew ; 
Implored, in vain, the grace divine 

For chiefs their own red falchions slew ; 
While Cessford owns the rule of Carr, 

While Ettrick boasts the line of Scott, 
The slaughter'd chiefs, the mortal jar, 
The havoc of the feudal war, 

Shall never, never be forgot.' * 

So, no doubt, felt the members of both clans at this time, and the 
feud was ultimately quenched in blood. 

The Border raids between the two countries continued as usual 
throughout the winter of 1532. Certain satirical expressions said to 
have been uttered by Buccleuch against Henry VIII. gave offence to 

* Lay of the Last Minstrel, c. i. stanza viii. 

The Scot is of Buccleuch. 197 

the English, and the Earl of Northumberland, with fifteen hundred 
men, ravaged and plundered his lands, and burnt Branxholm Castle. 
Their principal object was to kill or capture Buccleuch himself, but 
in this they were not successful. It would appear that at this time 
the Scotts and Kers had been so far reconciled as to make common 
cause aeainst their ' auld enemies.' In retaliation for Northum- 
berland's inroad, ' the Laird of Cessford, the Laird of Buccleuch, 
and the Laird of Ferniehirst,' at the head of a strong body of their 
clansmen and other Borderers, estimated at five thousand, made a 
destructive incursion into England, laid waste a large portion of 
Northumberland, and returned home laden with spoil.* 

In 1535 a strange, and, indeed, inexplicable accusation was 
brought against Sir Walter Scott, that he had given assistance to 
Lord Dacre and other Englishmen at the time of the burning of 
Cavers and Denholm. This assistance, it has been conjectured, 
may have been given in carrying out the feud with the Kers ; it 
could scarcely have originated in sympathy with the English. 
Buccleuch was summoned before the Justiciary Court to answer for 
this charge, and was put in ward for a certain time at his Majesty's 
pleasure. He was imprisoned a second time, in 1540, for causing 
disturbances on the Borders, but was speedily set at liberty, and 
restored to ' all his lands, offices, heritages, honours, and dignities.' 
In return he pledged himself to make Teviotdale, as far as it be- 
longed to him, in time coming to be as peaceable and obedient to 
the King and his laws as any part of Lothian ; and some of his 
friends became surety for him, in the sum of 10,000 merks, that he 
would fulfil his engagement. 

The French faction, headed by Cardinal Beaton, the Queen- 
Dowager, and the Earl of Arran, had now gained the ascendancy, 
and repudiated the treaty with Henry VIII. for the marriage of the 
youthful queen to his son. To punish the Scots for their refusal to 
fulfil their engagement, a most destructive inroad was made upon 
the Border districts, and the estates of Buccleuch in particular were 
laid waste with fire and sword. The ' barmkeyne ' at Branxholm 
Castle was burned, and a very large number of oxen, cows, sheep, 
and horses were carried away, along with thirty prisoners. Eight of 
the Scotts were killed. Wharton, the English Warden, shortly after 
arranged a meeting with Buccleuch, with threescore horse on either 
side, and strove hard to induce him to embrace the English alliance. 

* State Papers. Henry VIII., iv. 625, 626. 

198 The Great TTistoric Families of Scotland. 

Being- asked to state what he wished with them, Buccleuch, with a 
merry countenance, answered that he would buy horse of them and 
renew old acquaintance. They said they had no horses to sell to 
any Scottish men, and for old acquaintance they thought he had some 
other matter, and advised him to show the same, who answered, ' I 
ask what ails you, thus to run upon us ? ' After farther conversation, 
he ' earnestly therewith said that if my Lord Prince did marry their 
Queen, he would as truly and dutifully serve the King's Highness 
and my Lord Prince as any Scottish man did any King of Scotland, 
and that he would be glad to have the favour of England with his 
honour ; but that he would not be constrained thereto if all Tividale 
were burnt to the bottom of hell.' He proposed that they should 
give him protection from inroads for ' one month or twenty days, in 
which time he would know all his friends' minds.' This appears 
to have been the main object he had in view in acceding to this 
interview with Wharton and his associates. ' They answered that 
they had no commission to grant him any assurance one hour longer 
than that assurance granted for their meeting, nor to grant any of 
his demands, whatsoever the same were, but to hear what he had to 

Lord Wharton soon discovered that there was no hope that 
Buccleuch would consent to be numbered with the ' assured Scots,' 
who indeed had no intention of keeping their engagements with him. 
The victory at Ancrum Moor which followed this conference was 
largely due to the valour and skill of Buccleuch, and avenged, by 
the total destruction of the English forces under Sir Ralph Evers 
and Sir Brian Latoun, their barbarous and ruthless ravages of the 
Border district. The devastation of the Buccleuch estates was 
repeatedly carried out by these marauders with merciless severity. 
It is a significant fact that the Kers took part in this destructive 
raid, although immediately after the battle of Pinkie, at which Sir 
Walter Scott fought at the head of a numerous body of his retainers, 
he and Sir Walter Ker, as representing their respective clans, entered 
into a bond for the maintenance of the royal authority and the 
defence of the country. But the Kers, instead of keeping their 
engagement, joined Lord Grey, the English commander on the 
Borders, and assisted him in devastating the country. Buccleuch 
himself was shortly after under the necessity of offering to submit to 
the English monarch, who was now Edward VI., in order to save 
his tenants and estates from total ruin. It is a curious example of 

The Scotts of Buccleuch. 199 

the utter untrustworthiness of the Scottish magnates of that period 
that this step was taken with the concurrence and permission of the 
Earl of Arran, the Governor of Scotland. A letter, dated 26th 
September, 1547, and subscribed by Arran under the signet of Queen 
Mary, empowers Buccleuch to ' intercommune with the Protector and 
Council of England, and sic utheris Inglismen as he pleesses for 
saiftie of him, his kin, friendis, and servandis for heirschip and 
distruction of the Inglismen in tyme coming, and for the commoun 
well of our realme, als aft as he sail think expedient.' But the 
Governor makes provision for Buccleuch' s renunciation of his 
engagement with the English as soon as it had served its purpose. 
The letter ordains that ' quhenevir he beis requirit be us or oure said 
Governour, he sail incontinent thaireftir renunce and ourgif all bandis, 
contractis, and wytingis made be him to the Inglismen.'* 

As might have been expected, Buccleuch did not keep his engage- 
ment with the English, and Lord Grey immediately proved himself 
a vigilant and cruel enemy, as he had threatened. Accompanied by 
the Kers, on the 3rd of October, 1550, he ravaged and plundered 
in the most savage manner the lands of the Scotts in Teviotdale. 
On the 8th he ' burnt, haryet, and destroyed ' the town of Hawick, 
and all the towns, manses, and steadings upon the waters of Teviot, 
Borthwick, and Slitrig pertaining to Sir Walter Scott. On the 19th 
he pillaged, and devastated, in the same manner, the houses and lands 
in Ettrick and Yarrow, destroyed the town of Selkirk, of which Sir 
Walter was Provost, and burnt his castles of Newark and Catslack. 
At Newark four of the servants and a woman were put to death, and 
the aged mother of the chief perished in the flames of Catslack. 

In the spring of the following year Sir Walter Scott was appointed 
Governor-General and Justiciar within Liddesdale and part of Teviot- 
dale, and in June he was made Warden and Justiciar in the Middle 
Marches of Scotland, with the most ample powers, which we may be 
sure were not left unused, to cause the inhabitants to ' convene, ride, 
and advance against " our auld enemies of England," and in the 
pursuit, capture, and punishment of thieves, rebels, and evildoers to 
make statutes, acts, and ordinances thereupon to punish trans- 
gressors, thieves, and other delinquents within these bounds, accord- 
ing to the laws,' &c.f 

But the active and turbulent career of Sir Walter Scott was now 
near a close. The slaughter of Ker of Cessford was still unavenged, 
* Scotts of Buccleuch, i. 111 ; ii. 185. t Ibid. ii. 204. 

200 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

and though it took place in open light, and upwards of a quarter of 
a century had elapsed since that unfortunate event occurred, the 
thirst for vengeance among the Kers was not quenched. On the 
night of the 4th October, 1552, Sir Walter was attacked and mur- 
dered in the High Street of Edinburgh, by a party of the Kers and 
their friends. The death stroke was given by John Hume, of Cow- 
denknowes, the head of a branch of the Home family ; but the chief 
of the Kers must have been present, for the murderer called out to 
Cessford, ' Strike traitour ane straik, for thy faderis sake.' 

' Bards long shall tell 
How Lord Walter fell ! 
When startled burghers fled afar, 
The furies of the Border war ; 
When the streets of high Dunedin 
Saw lances gleam, and falchions redden, 
And heard the slogan's deadly yell — 
Then the chief of Branksome fell.' * 

For this foul deed the Kers were declared rebels, and appear to have 
suffered severely both from the vengeance of the Scotts, and the 
efforts of the Government officers to inflict the penalties of rebellion. 
Their chiefs of Cessford, Ferniehirst, and Hirsell presented a piteous 
petition to the Governor, setting forth that ' his servants had seized 
upon their houses, possessions, and goods, so that they had nothing, 
unless they stole and plundered, to sustain themselves, their wives 
and children ; and being at the horn, they dared not resort to their 
friends, but lay in the woods and fells. Their enemies had slain 
divers of their friends not guilty of any crime committed by them, 
and daily sought and pursued them and all their friends, kinsmen, 
and servants for their slaughter, so that none of them dared, from 
fear of their lives, to come to kirk, market, nor to the Governor to 
ask a remedy from him.' f Through the influence of their allies, the 
Homes, the Governor was induced to allow the Kers who were 
implicated in the murder of Sir Walter Scott to go into banishment 
in France, with their retainers, to the number of four hundred, as 
part of an auxiliary force which the Scottish Council were about to 
despatch to the assistance of the French king. 

Sir Walter Scott was married three times. His first wife was 
Elizabeth Carmichael, of the family of Carmichael of that ilk, after- 
wards Earls of Hyndford. She died before the year 1530, leaving 

* Lay of the Last Minstrel, canto i. stanza vii. 

\ Sir Walter Scott's Border Antiquities, ii. Appendix No. II. 

The Scott s of Buccleuch. 201 

two sons, both of whom predeceased their father. He married, 
secondly, Janet Kerr, daughter of Sir Andrew Kerr of Ferniehirst, 
and widow of George Turnbull of Bedrule. Sir Walter's third wife 
was jaret Beaton, ' of Bethune's high line of Picardy,' a relative of 
Cardinal Beaton, whom she seems to have a good deal resembled in 
her character. Like Sir Walter, she had been twice previously mar- 
ried, and was divorced from her second husband, Simon Preston of 
Craigmillar. She was the daughter of Sir John Beaton of Creich, in 
Fife, and was first married to Sir James Crichton of Cranston Riddell. 
Having been left a widow, in 1539, she soon afterwards married 
Simon Preston, the Laird of Craigmillar. In 1543 she instituted a 
suit of divorce against him, and set forth as the ground of her suit 
that before her marriage to her present husband she had had illicit 
intercourse with Sir Walter Scott of Buccleuch, and that he and 
Preston were within the prohibited degrees, as the one was the 
great-grandson and the other the great-great-grandson of a common 
ancestor. On that plea the marriage was declared null and void ; 
and the motive of the suit immediately became manifest, for on the 
2nd of December, 1544, she was married to Sir Walter Scott. 

Sir Walter Scott had by Janet Beaton two sons and three daugh- 
ters. She survived her husband nearly sixteen years. After the 
murder of Sir Walter, she rode at the head of two hundred of her 
clan, in full armour, to the kirk of St. Mary of the Lowes, in Yarrow, 
and broke open its doors in order to seize the Laird of Cranstoun, an 
ally of Cessford. At a later period she was implicated in the intrigues 
of Queen Mary and Bothwell, and was popularly accused of having 
employed witchcraft, and the administration of magic philtres, to 
promote their attachment and marriage. One of the placards issued 
at the time of Darnley's murder accuses of the crime 'the Erie of 
Bothwell, Mr. James Balfoure, the parsoune of Fliske, Mr. David 
Chalmers, black Mr. John Spens, who was principal deviser of the 
murder; and the Ouene assenting thairto, threw the persuasion of 
the Erie of Bothwell, and the witchcraft of Lady Buckleuch.' Sir 
Walter Scott, in his ' Lay of the Last Minstrel,' in accordance with 
this superstitious notion, represents Lady Buccleuch as endowed with 
supernatural powers. But the charms which she employed to pro- 
mote the schemes of her paramour, Bothwell, were altogether of a 
mundane and immoral character. It was at one time proposed that 
Lady Jane Gordon, Bothwell' s wife, should sue for a divorce on the 
ground of his notorious infidelities ; and ' that no feature might be 

202 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

wanting',' says Froude, ' to complete the foulness of the picture, Lady 
Buccleuch was said to be ready, if required, to come forward with 
the necessary evidence.' 

David, Sir Walter's eldest son, died before 1544, unmarried. His 
second son, Sir William of Kirkurd, also died about four months 
before him, leaving a son Walter, only three years old, who suc- 
ceeded to the Buccleuch estates on the death of his grandfather. 
According to Sir James Melville, he ' was a man of rare qualities, 
wise, true, stout, and modest.' But as he was only three years of 
age when his grandfather's death opened the succession to him, and 
he died at the age of twenty- four, the encomium of the historian must 
be taken a good deal on trust. Strenuous efforts were made to heal the 
deadly feud between the Scotts and Kers, and with this view a series 
of marriages were formally arranged between members of the prin- 
cipal families on both sides, under heavy penalties on the defaulters 
if these proposals were not carried into effect. But from some 
unknown reason these marriages did not take place. Liddesdale 
and the adjoining districts continued to be wasted and plundered by 
quarrels between the Scotts and Elliots, which were studiously 
fomented by the English wardens. Referring to these disorders, 
Sir John Foster wrote to the Privy Council, 22nd June, 1565, 'the 
longer that such conditions continue amongst themselves, in better 
quiet shall we be.'* At length the excesses of these freebooters 
compelled the Regent Moray to undertake his memorable expedition 
to the Borders in 1567, in which he burned and destroyed the whole 
district of Liddesdale, not leaving a single house standing, and 
hanged or drowned great numbers of the depredators. The barons 
and chief men of the Border district, including the provosts and 
bailies of the burghs, followed up this severe action of the Regent by 
' boycotting,' in 1569, the rebellious people in Liddesdale, Ewes- 
dale, Eskdale, and Annandale. ' They undertook that they would 
not intercommune with any of them, nor suffer any meat, drink, or 
victuals to be bought or carried to them, nor suffer them to resort to 
markets or trysts, within their bounds, nor permit them to pasture 
their flocks, or abide upon any land outwith Liddesdale,' unless within 
eight days they should find sufficient and respectable sureties ; ' and 
all others not finding sureties within the said space we shall pursue 
to the death with fire and sword, and all other kinds of hostility.'! 

* Calendar of State Papers, No. 1124. t Pitcairn's Criminal Trials. 

The Scotts of Buccleiich. 203 

These stringent measures produced comparative peace and security, 
for a brief space, throughout the Border districts, but on the assas- 
sination of the Regent they relapsed into their former condition. 

Sir Walter Scott was a zealous partisan of Queen Mary, and sup- 
ported her cause with the utmost enthusiasm, but as unscrupulously as 
the other barons who were enlisted on her side. He was undoubtedly 
cognisant of the plot for the murder of the Regent Moray (25th 
January, 1569-70). On the morning after that event he and Kerr 
of Ferniehirst made a marauding incursion into England at the 
head of a powerful force, and when threatened with the vengeance of 
the Regent for this outrage, Buccleuch made the well-known remark, 
1 Tush ! the Regent is as cold as my bridle-bit.' In retaliation for 
this unprovoked raid, an English army, under the Earl of Sussex and 
Sir John Foster, crossed the Border and burnt the whole of Teviot- 
dale, destroying, according to their own account, about fifty strong- 
holds and three hundred villages or hamlets. They blew up with 
gunpowder the walls of Branxholm Castle, the principal seat of 
Buccleuch, which was described as ' a very strong house and well 
set, and very pleasant gardens and orchards about it.' 

Sir Walter Scott was a principal actor in the execution of the plot 
devised by Kirkaldy of Grange, to surprise the Parliament which 
met at Stirling in September, 157 1. The enterprise, which at first 
was crowned with complete success, was ultimately rendered abortive 
by the want of discipline on the part of the Borderers, who dispersed 
to plunder the merchant booths, leaving their prisoners unguarded. 
They all, in consequence, made their escape, except the Regent 
Lennox, who was killed, and the assailants were unexpectedly 
attacked by the Earl of Mar, who sallied out of the castle with forty 
men, assisted by the townsmen, and put the assailants to flight, 
carrying off, however, the horses which they had stolen. Buccleuch, 
to whom the Earl of Morton had surrendered, was in his turn obliged 
to surrender to that Earl, along with several of his associates in the 
raid, but he was speedily set at liberty. 

Sir Walter commenced the rebuilding of Branxholm Castle; but 
the work, though it had been carried on for three years, was not 
completed at the time of his death, April 17th, 1574 ; it was finished 
by his widow, Lady Margaret Douglas, whom he married when he 
was only sixteen years of age. He had by her a son, Walter, and 
two daughters. She took for her second husband Francis Stewart, 
the factious and intriguing Earl of Bothwell, to whom she bore three 

204 TJie Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

sons and three daughters. She survived her first husband for the 
long period of sixty-six years, and died in the year 1640. 

Sir Walter Scott, the first of the family who was elevated to the 
peerage, was only in the ninth year of his age when his father died. 
He was a man of strife from his youth upwards, having been born 
and bred among Border feuds. In 1557, when he was only in his 
twelfth year, the old quarrel between the Scotts and Kers broke 
out afresh, but was finally set at rest in 1558. Then followed a 
serious and protracted feud with the Elliots and Armstrongs, in 
which they were the aggressors, and inflicted great damage on the 
estates both of Buccleuch and of his mother. The young chief took 
part in the expedition to Stirling in the year 1585, under the Earl of 
Angus, in order to expel the worthless favourite, Arran, from the 
councils of the King, when the notorious Kinmont and the Arm- 
strongs in Buccleuch' s army not only made prey of horses and cattle, 
but even carried off the very gratings of the windows.* Sir Walter's 
raids into England were punished with a short imprisonment in 
Edinburgh Castle ; but his complicity in the lawless proceedings 
of his stepfather, the turbulent Earl of Bothwell, was a more 
serious offence, and was visited, in September, 1591, with banish- 
ment to France for three years, but he obtained permission to return 
to Scotland in November, 1592. When the patience of King James 
with Bothwell' s repeated acts of treason and rebellion was at length 
exhausted, and the honours and estates of the Earl were forfeited to 
the Crown, his castles and baronies were bestowed upon the royal 
favourite, the Duke of Lennox. After holding them for three years, 
the Duke resigned them into the hands of the King, who immediately 
conferred the Bothwell estates, extending over eight counties, on Sir 
Walter Scott (1st October, 1594) as a reward for his eminent services 
' in pacifying the Borders and middle regions of the Marches, and 
putting down the insolence and disobedience of our subjects dwelling 
there, as in sundry other weighty affairs committed to his trust.' It 
was afterwards arranged by Charles I. that a great portion of the 
Bothwell estates should be restored to the family of Earl Francis. 
Liddesdale and Hermitage Castle, however, remained with the 
Buccleuch family. 

Buccleuch was on the Continent when his clan fought on the side 
of the Johnstones at the sanguinary battle of Dryfe Sands ; and at 

* Johnstoni Historia; Border Minstrelsy, ii. 43. 

The Scotts of Buccleuch. 205 

the raid of the Reidswire — an unfortunate and accidental collision 
between the English and the Scotts — they were under the command 
of Walter Scott of Goldielands, who led the clan during the minority 
of the chief — 

' The Laird's Wat, that worthie man, 
Brought in that sirname weil beseen.' * 

Buccleuch was, of course, engaged in many a Border raid, and was 
the leader of not a few destructive inroads into England. The 
spirited ballad of ' Jamie Telfer of the Fair Dodhead ' shows that 
though he held the office of the Keeper of Liddesdale, he was quite 
ready to take the law into his own hands when any of his retainers 
had been wronged by the English freebooters. His most celebrated 
exploit of this kind is commemorated in the ballad of ' Kinmont 
Willie,' which narrates his rescue of a noted Borderer, one of the 
Armstrong clan, who had been illegally captured by some English- 
men on a day of truce, when he was returning from a warden court 
held on the borders of the two countries. Armstrong was a notorious 
depredator, but he was on Scottish ground and protected by the 
truce when a body of two hundred English horsemen crossed the 
Liddel, chased him for three or four miles, captured and carried him 
to Carlisle Castle, where he was heavily ironed and imprisoned. 
Buccleuch, with whom Kinmont Willie was a special favourite, 
instantly complained of this outrage in violation of Border law, and 
demanded the release of his retainer. But Lord Scrope, the Warden, 
refused, or at least evaded the demand, and so did Sir Robert Bowes, 
the English ambassador. The ballad describes no doubt pretty 
correctly what the ' bauld Keeper ' felt and said when thus outraged 
and bearded. After striking the table with his hand and ' garing 
the red wine spring on hie,' he exclaimed — 

'O is my basnet [helmet] a widow's curch [coif], 
Or my lance a wand of the willow-tree ? 
Or my arm a ladye's lilye hand, 

That an English lord should lightly me ? 

'And have they ta'en him, Kinmont Willie, 
Against the truce of Border tide ? 
And forgotten that the bauld Buccleuch 
Is Keeper here on the Scottish side? 

'And have they e'en ta'en him, Kinmont Willie, 
Withouten either dread or fear, 
And forgotten that the bauld Buccleuch 
Can back a steed or shake a spear ? ' 

Well-appointed. Ballad of the Raid of the Reidswire. See Border Minstrelsy, ii. 15. 

206 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

He swore that he would bring Kinmont Willie out of Carlisle Castle 
alive or dead, and collecting a select band of his own clan, and of 
the Armstrongs, and taking advantage of a dark and tempestuous 
night, they crossed the Esk and the Eden, though swollen by heavy 
rains, and reached the castle unperceived. The scaling-ladders 
which they brought with them proved too short, but they undermined 
a part of the wall near the postern gate, and. soon made a breach 
sufficient to admit a number of the daring assailants one by one. 
They disarmed and bound the watch, wrenched open the postern, 
and admitted their companions. Buccleuch meanwhile kept watch 
between the postern of the castle and the nearest gate of the town. 
The tumultuous noise which the assailants made, and the sound of 
their trumpets, so terrified the garrison that they retreated into the 
inner stronghold. 

' Now, sound out, trumpets ! ' quo' Buccleuch 
' Let's waken Lord Scroope right merilie ! ' — 
Then loud the Warden's trumpet blew — 
O who dare meddle ivi' me 1 * 

Meanwhile one of the assailants hastened to the cell of the prisoner, 
broke open its door, and carried him off in his arms. The ballad 
describes with a good deal of rough humour the manner in which the 
moss-trooper made his exit from the prison : — 

'Then Red Rowan has hente him up, 
The starkest man in Tiviotdale — 
" Abide, abide now, Red Rowan, 

Till of my Lord Scroope I take farewell. 

u Farewell, farewell, my gude Lord Scroope ! 

My gude Lord Scroope, farewell,' he cried — ■ 
" I'll pay you for my lodging maill [rent], 

When first we meet on the Border side." 

' Then shoulder-high, with shout and cry, 

We bore him down the ladder lang; 
At every stride Red Rowan made, 

I wot the Kinmont's aim's played clang! 

Meanwhile the alarm-bell of the castle rang, and was answered by 
those of the cathedral and the Moat-hall, drums beat to arms, and 
the beacon blazed upon the top of the great tower. But as the real 
strength of the Scots was unknown, all was terror and confusion 
both in the castle and town. Buccleuch having accomplished his 
purpose, rode off unmolested with his men, who had strictly obeyed 

* The name of a celebrated Border tune. 

The Scoffs of Buccleuch. 207 

his orders, not to injure the garrison or take any booty. They swam 
the flooded Eden — 

' Even where it flowed frae bank to brim,' 

and carrying off their rescued prisoner in triumph, they regained the 
Scottish border about two hours after sunrise. ' There never had 
been a more gallant deed of vassalage done in Scotland,' says an 
old chronicler, ' no, not in Wallace's days.'* 

When Queen Elizabeth heard of this daring exploit she broke out 
into a furious passion, and demanded, with the most violent menaces, 
that Buccleuch should be delivered up to her to atone for this insult 
to her Government. A diplomatic correspondence ensued, which 
lasted for eighteen months. Buccleuch pleaded that ' the first 
wrong was done by the officer of England, to him as known officer of 
Scotland, by the breaking of the assurance of the day of truce, and 
the taking of a prisoner in warlike manner within Scotland, to the 
dishonour of the King and of the realm.' And King James pro- 
tested ' that he might with great reason crave the delivery of Lord 
Scrope for the injury committed by his deputy, it being less favour- 
able to take a prisoner than relieve him that is unlawfully taken.' 
The English Queen, however, was deaf to argument, and, with violent 
threats, repeated her demand for the deliverance of Buccleuch. It 
was firmly resisted by the whole body of the Scottish people, nobles, 
burghers, and clergy, and even by the King himself, though Eliza- 
beth threatened to stop the payment of the annuity due to him. 
While this affair was still unsettled, a band of the English Borderers 
invaded Liddesdale and plundered the country. Buccleuch and 
Cessford immediately retaliated by a raid into England, in which they 
not only brought off much spoil, but apprehended thirty-six of the 
Tynedale thieves, all of whom he put to death. Elizabeth's anger 
blazed forth with ungovernable fury at this fresh outrage, and she 
wrote to Bowes, her ambassador in Scotland, ' I wonder how base- 
minded that king thinks me that with patience I can digest this 

dishonourable Let him know, therefore, that I will have 

satisfaction, or else . . . .' These broken words of wrath are inserted 
betwixt the subscription and the address of the letter.f 

For this new offence Buccleuch and Cessford were tried by the 
Commissioners and found guilty. As the peaceful relations between 
the two kingdoms were now seriously endangered, Buccleuch con- 

* Bymer,xvi. 318 ; Border Minstrelsy, ii. 47. f Birr'eTs Diary, April 6th, 1596. 

2o8 The Great Historic Families of Scotland 

sented to enter into parole in England, and surrendered himself to 
Sir William Selby, Master of the Ordnance of Berwick ; and Sir 
Robert Ker chose for his guardian Sir Robert Carey, Warden- 
depute of the East Marches. They were both treated with generous 
hospitality and great honour. According to an old tradition, Buc- 
cleuch was presented to Queen Elizabeth herself, who demanded 
of him how he dared to storm her castle. ' What is it,' replied the 
' bauld Buccleuch,' ' that a man dare not do ? ' Elizabeth, who, with 
all her faults, recognised a true man when she met one, turned to a 
lord-in-waiting, and said, ' With ten thousand such men our brother 
of Scotland might shake the firmest throne in Europe.' 

During the remainder of Elizabeth's reign the Borders continued 
to be the scene of constant raids and feuds ; and though Buccleuch, 
as Keeper of Liddesdale, exerted himself vigorously to repress the 
destructive incursions of the moss-troopers in the Middle Marches, it 
was not until the union of the Crowns took place that his efforts 
were successful. He received the thanks of the King and Council 
for his important services, and, in 1606, was created a Lord of Par- 
liament by the title of Lord Scott of Buccleuch. After the Union, in 
1604, he formed a band of these marauders, two hundred in number, 
into a company, and led them to the Low Countries, where they 
fought with conspicuous valour against Spain, under the banner of 
Prince Maurice of Nassau.- In all probability few of them survived 
to reach their own country again. Buccleuch returned to Scotland 
in 1609 on the conclusion of a twelve years' truce between Spain and 
the United Provinces. He died in 161 1, leaving by his wife, a 
daughter of Sir William Ker of Cessford, the hereditary enemy of 
his house, a son, who succeeded him, and three daughters. 

Walter, second Lord Scott of Buccleuch, ' was the first who for 
the long period of one hundred and forty years had inherited the 
Buccleuch estates being of full age ; since the time of David Scott, 
in 1470, the Lords of Buccleuch had all been minors at the time ol 
succession.'* Lord Scott was created Earl of Buccleuch in 1619. 
Like his father, he was fond of a military career, and entered the 
service of the States-General, as he did, at the head of a detachment 
of Scotsmen, though, strange to say, only half-a-dozen of them 
belonged to his own clan and bore his name. He was present at 
the sieges of Bergen -op-Zoom and Maestricht. As Sir Walter Scott 

* Scoffs of Buccleuch, i. 242. 

TIte Scot is of Bucdeuch. 209 

says of him, ' A braver ne'er to battle rode.' He was recalled from 
the Netherlands, in 1631, by Charles I., who desired his presence in 
London, as his Majesty had occasion for his services, but he subse- 
quently returned to his command in the Netherlands, and was in 
active service there six weeks before his death. 

The Earl was noted for his generous hospitality. Satchells, in his 
doggrel verse, enumerates with great satisfaction the retainers who 
were maintained at Branxholm — four-and-twenty gentlemen of his 
name and kin, each of whom had two servants to wait on him ; and 
four-and-twenty pensioners, all of the name Scott, ' for service done 
and to be done,' had each a room, and held lands of the estimated 
value of from twelve to fourteen thousand merks a year. Sir Walter 
Scott, who evidently took the hint from Satchells, gives a picturesque 
description of the splendour and hospitality of Branxholm in the 
olden times, as well as of the watch and ward which it was necessary 
to keep for the protection of the Borders. 

1 Nine and-twenty knights of fame, 

Hung their shields in Branksome Hall ; 
Nine-and-twenty squires of name, 

Brought them their steeds to bower from stall ; 
Nine-and-twenty yeomen tall 
Waited, duteous, on them all : 
They were all knights of metal true, 
Kinsmen to the bold Buccleuch. 

' Ten of them were sheathed in steel, 
With hiked sword, and spur on heel : 
They quitted not their harness bright, 
Neither by day, nor yet by night : 

They lay down to rest 

With corslet laced, 
Pillow'd on buckler cold and hard; 

They carved at the meal 

With gloves of steel, 
And they drank the red wine through the helmet barr'd. 

' Ten squires, ten yeomen, mail-clad men, 
Waited the beck of the warders ten ; 
Thirty steeds, both fleet and wight. 
Stood saddled in stable day and night, 
Barbed with frontlet of steel, I trow, 
And with Jedwood-axe at saddlebow; 
A hundred more fed free in stall : — 
Such was the custom of Branksome Hall.' 

The profuse hospitality of the Earl, and the cost of maintaining so 
many retainers, together with his large purchases of land, led to the 
temporary embarrassment of his pecuniary affairs ; but, through the 

vol. 11. p 

2io The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

able and careful management of Walter Scott of Harden, the Buc- 
cleuch estates were ultimately freed from all encumbrances and 
greatly enlarged. 

Earl Walter died in London on the 20th November, 1633. His 
body was embalmed, and brought to Scotland by sea in a vessel 
belonging to Kirkaldy, which, after a perilous voyage of fifteen 
weeks, arrived safely at Leith. After remaining for twenty days in 
the church of that town, the corpse was conveyed to Branxholm with 
great pomp, aims being distributed in all the villages and towns 
through which the cortege passed. The interment, however, did 
not take place till the nth June, 1634, seven months after the Earl's 
death. The funeral procession from Branxholm to St. Mary's 
Church, Hawick, where the remains of the deceased nobleman were 
interred among his ancestors, was of extraordinary magnificence.* 

Earl Walter had by his wife, Lady Mary Hay, a daughter of 
Francis, Earl of Errol, a family of three sons and three daughters. 
Walter, the eldest son, died in childhood, and the Earl was succeeded 
by his second son, Francis. Mr. Fraser mentions that while Earl 
Walter provided liberally for all his lawful children, he was not un- 
mindful of his natural children, of whom there were three sons and 
two daughters. The former received donations of lands ; the latter 
were provided with a liberal tocher at their marriage. 

Francis, second Earl of Buccleuch, succeeded to the family 
honours and estates when he was only about seven years of age. He 
and his brother were educated at St. Leonard's College, St. Andrews, 
of which he always cherished a kind remembrance, and greatly aug- 
mented its library by his gifts. The young Earl was equally distin- 
guished for his bravery and his piety. ' From his very youth,' 
wrote the Earl of Lothian, ' he gave testimony of his love to religion,' 
and he was one of the leaders in the army of the Covenanters when 
they took up arms to resist the ecclesiastical innovations of Charles I. 
and Laud. He was present with his regiment when Newcastle was 
stormed, and taken, by the Scottish army under General Leslie.f 

* See Balfour's Ancient and Heraldic Tracts, p. 106. The Scotis of Buccleuch, i. 

+ Mr. Fraser thinks it probable that the Bellenden banner, emblazoned with armo- 
rial bearings, now preserved in the family, is that which was made for the regiment 
of Earl Francis, previous to his march into England, in the beginning of 1644. This 
curious and venerable relic of the olden times was displayed at the celebrated football 
match, which was played 4th December, 181 5, on Carterhaugh, near the junction of the 
Ettrick and Yarrow, between the men of the parish of Selkirk, and those of the Dale of 

The Scotts of Buccleuch. 2 1 1 

Earl Francis took part, with the more resolute section of the Cove- 
nanters, under the Marquis of Argyll, in opposing the ' Engagement ' 
which led to the abortive expedition into England for the rescue of 
the King, and he brought his clan to the assistance of the levies 
raised by General Leslie to resist the Engagers. After the execu- 
tion of King Charles, Earl Francis was one of the last to submit to 
the authority of the English Commonwealth, and a fine of £15.000 
was imposed by Cromwell on his daughter and successor, the 
Countess Mary — -£"5,000 more than the sum levied on any other of the 
party ; but, through the intercession of powerful friends, the amount 
was ultimately reduced to £"6,000. After the defeat of the Scottish 
army at Dunbar, in September, 1650, Cromwell took possession of 
the Earl's castles of Newark and Dalkeith ; but the muniments, 
plate, and other valuables had been removed to the fortress on the 
Bass Rock, where they remained in safety until the year 1652. 

During the disorders which resulted from the great Civil War, 
the moss-troopers, who, after the union of the Crowns, had become 
somewhat orderly and peaceful, once more resumed their marauding 
habits. The tenants on the Buccleuch estates were the principal 
sufferers from their depredations, and the cattle even of the Earl 
himself were sometimes carried off in considerable numbers. He 
was appointed, in 1643, justiciar over an extensive district on the 
Borders, and made vigorous efforts, which were only partially suc- 
cessful, to restrain and control the Armstrongs, the Elliots, and other 
Border thieves. The indictments and informations presented at the 
Justiciary Courts, in the years 1645 an d 1646, show the nature and 
extent of the depredations of the Liddesdale men in England. A 
stalwart Armstrong, called Symon of Whitlisyde, and other four of 
that clan, 'did steal out of Swinburne Park, in Northumberland, 
fifty kye and oxen. The same Symon Armstrong, and his partners, 
did steal out of the Rukin in Ridsdale, fourscore of sheep.' Having 

Yarrow, in the presence of Charles, Duke of Buccleuch, the Earl and Countess of 
Home, and a great array of the gentry of the Forest. The Earl of Home, the Duke's 
brother-in-law, appointed James Hogg, the Ettrick Shepherd, his lieutenant over the 
Yarrow Band, while the Sheriff of the county (Sir Walter Scott) had under his special 
cognisance the 'Sutors of Selkirk.' The banner bearing the word ' Bellindaine,' the 
ancient war-cry of the clan Scott, was carried by Sir Walter Scott's eldest son, and was 
displayed to the sound of war-pipes, as on former occasions when the chief took the 
field in person, whether for the purpose of war or of sport. This gathering of the men 
of Ettrick and Yarrow was commemorated by Sir Walter Scott in a poem entitled 
' The Lifting of the Banner,' and by the Ettrick Shepherd in his beautiful verses, 
entitled ' The Ettrick Garland to the Ancient Banner of the House of Buccleuch.' 

212 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

brought their spoil across the Borders, as far as Kershopehead, the 
moss-troopers left the sheep, and went in search of food ; but the 
owners had closely followed them, and on the return of the marauders 
the sheep were gone. A body of the Armstrongs, in open day, car- 
ried off three score of oxen out of the lands of Emblehope. The 
same party shortly afterwards took four-and-twenty horses belonging 
to the same proprietor, and also ten horses and a mare, and a 
stallion valued at £20 sterling. They also drove away openly in 
the daytime ' twelve or thretteen score of nolt, with a great number 
of horses and meares,' belonging to the Charltons of Tynedale. It 
is no wonder that old Satchells describes these men as 'very ill to 
tame.' They were not, however, without a sense of humour, as the 
following incident, recorded in these judicial papers, shows : — 
' Lancie Armstrong, called of Catheugh, Geordie Rackesse of the 
Hillhouse, and several others, had made a successful foray across 
the English Border, and were driving homeward, on a Sunday 
forenoon, about eighty oxen which they had seized. At Chiffon - 
berrie Craig a poor English curate, who had some beasts in that 
drift taken from him, following them, desired them earnestlie to let 
him have his twae or thrie beasts again, because he was a Kirk- 
man. Geordie Rackessee, laughing verie merrilie, wist he had all 
the ministers of England and Scotland as far at his command as he 
had him ; and withal bade him make them a little preaching, and 
he coulde have his beastes again. " Oh ! " says the curate, 
" good youths, this is a very unfit place for preaching; if you and I 
were together in church I would do my best to give you content." 
" Then," said Geordie, " if you will not preach to us, yet you will 
give us a prayer, and we will learn you to be a moss-trooper." This 
the curate still refused. " If you will neither preach nor pray to us," 
said Geordie, " yet you will take some tobacco or sneisin [snuff] 
with us." The curate was content of that, provyding they wald give 
him his beastes againe, which they did accordinglie, and so that 
conference brake.' 

Earl Francis died in the year 1651, in the twenty-fifth year of his 
age, deeply lamented. His excellent character and amiable disposi- 
tion earned for him the designation of the ' Good Earl Francis.' 

It was in his time that the barony of Dalkeith was purchased from 
the Earl of Morton. The old castle and estate were for many years a 
possession of the Douglas family, and here Froissart, the famous 
French chronicler, was entertained by them during his visit to Scot 

The Scot is of Buccleuch. 2 1 3 

land. It was the principal residence of Regent Morton, the head of 
a junior branch of the Douglases. 

Earl Francis married, in 1646, when he was in the twentieth year 
of his age, Lady Margaret Leslie, daughter of the sixth Earl of 
Rothes, and widow of Lord Balgonie, eldest son of the first Earl of 
Leven. She is said to have been an active and witty woman. 
Satchells says, ' She must always have her intents.' Her conduct 
shows her to have been selfish, greedy, intriguing, and unscrupulous. 
In 1650 the Earl made a new settlement of his estates, entailing them 
on his heirs male, whom failing, on the eldest heir female of his body, 
whom failing, on Lady Jean Scott, afterwards Countess of Tweeddale, 
his sister, and her heirs. As the only son of the ' Good Earl Francis ' 
unfortunately died in infancy (whose death he ' took very grieffously'), 
he was succeeded by his eldest daughter, Lady Mary Scott, a child 
only four years of age. About fourteen months after the Earl's death, 
the Countess-Dowager married the second Earl of Wemyss, who, 
like herself, had also been twice previously married, and had buried 
his second wife only two months before he was engaged to his third 

The tutors of the young heiress of the Buccleuch estates did not 
co-operate cordially in promoting her interests. Sir Gideon Scott of 
Highchester, one of them, was jealous of the Earl of Tweeddale, who 
had married her aunt, and expressed his belief that the Earl enter- 
tained sinister designs, which made him bent on wresting the infant 
Countess and her sister from the guardianship of their mother. In 
conjunction with that lady, he presented a petition to the Protector, 
entreating that the children should remain in the custody of the 
Countess of Wemyss until they had attained the age of eleven 
or twelve years. Cromwell returned a favourable answer to this 
request, and the tutors decided unanimously that the children should 
remain with their mother until they were ten years of age, which was 
afterwards extended to twelve. The story of the scandalous intrigues 
of which the Countess was the object, as narrated at length in the 
' Scotts of Buccleuch,' is a very melancholy one. There seems to 
have been no end to the selfish schemes for her disposal in marriage. 
Attempts were made to obtain her hand for her cousin, a son of the 
Earl of Tweeddale, and for a son of the Earl of Lothian. High- 
chester alleged that Scott of Scotstarvit, one of her tutors, had a 
design to marry her to his son, or one of his grandchildren ; and 
when this scheme failed he professed to have the complete disposal of 

214 1h e Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

the heiress, and offered her to the son of Mr. Scott of Scottshall, in 
Kent. John Scott, of Gorrinberrie, a natural son of Earl Walter, 
and one of the tutors of the Countess, made overtures to her mother to 
promote her marriage to his son. It appears from a letter of Robert 
Baillie that there was at one time an expectation that the son and 
heir of the Earl of Eglinton would carry off the prize ; but ' he runns 
away without any advyce, and marries a daughter of my Lord 
Dumfries, who is a broken man, when he was sure of my Lady 
Balclough's marriage — the greatest match in Brittain. This unex- 
pected prank is worse to all his kinn than his death would have 
been.'* Even Mr. Desborough, one of the English Commissioners 
of the Commonwealth, is said to have attempted to gain the hand 
of the Countess for his own son. 

All these projects, however, were frustrated by the mother of the 
heiress, her uncle the Duke of Rothes, the notorious persecutor of 
the Covenanters, and Sir Gideon Scott of Highchester, who entered 
into a scandalous intrigue to marry the Countess in her eleventh year 
to a son of Sir Gideon, a boy only fourteen years of age. In order 
to secure secrecy, the preparations for the marriage were carried out 
in a most clandestine manner. The Presbytery of Kirkaldy were 
induced to dispense, illegally, with the proclamation of banns, and to 
order Mr. Wilkie, the minister of Wemyss, the parish in which the 
Countess resided, to perform the marriage ceremony, which was 
accordingly carried into effect on the 9th of February, 1659. Care 
was taken, in the marriage contract, to secure to the boy husband the 
life rent of the honours and estates of the earldom, and a most liberal 
recompense — which they contrived greatly to exceed — to the mother 
and stepfather of the Countess, with whom she was to reside until 
she reached the age of eighteen years. 

Several of the tutors had been gained over to assist in promoting 
this nefarious scheme, but the others, among whom were Scots- 
tarvit and Gorrinberrie, along with the overseers appointed by Earl 
Francis, immediately raised an action for the dissolution of the 
marriage, in which they were successful. The children so illegally 
and shamefully united were separated by a decree of the Commis- 
sary, Sir John Nisbet of Dirleton, the celebrated lawyer, and the 
Countess was placed in the custody of General Monck, who then 
resided at Dalkeith Castle. The poor girl had inherited the amiable 
and affectionate disposition of her father, and her letters to her 

* Baillie's Letters, iii. 366. 

The Scotts of Buccleuch. 2 1 5 

husband, of which a great number have been preserved, show that 
she cherished a very warm attachment to him. * 

When the Countess attained the 'legal age' of twelve (31st 
August, 1659), measures were at once taken by her unscrupulous 
relations to obtain the ratification of her marriage, and a declaration 
of their adherence to it was signed by her and her husband on the 
2nd September, at Leith, in the presence of General Monck. The 
poor child was at that time suffering from the ' King's Evil,' as 
scrofula was then called, for which she was touched by Charles II., 
in 1660, of course without effect. f She died at Wester Wemyss, 
on the nth of March, 1661, in her fourteenth year. The only 
advantage which her husband derived from his short-lived union 
was the barren title for life of Earl of Tarras, her unscrupulous 
mother, in conjunction with the Earl of Rothes, having completely 
deceived and outwitted him in regard to the last will of his wife, 
which appointed Rothes and Wemyss sole executors, and universal 
legatees. They ultimately divided between them the sum of 

On the death of the Countess Mary, the Buccleuch titles and 
estates devolved upon her only sister, Lady Anne Scott. Rothes 
lost no time in obtaining from the King a gift of the ward and 
marriage of his niece, for which the selfish, grasping knave contrived 
to obtain the sum of ^12,000. The Countess of Wemyss, who was 
evidently a worthy associate of her unscrupulous brother, only two 
months after the death of Countess Mary, wrote to Charles II., 
proposing the marriage of her daughter Anne, then in her eleventh 
year, to his son James, Duke of Monmouth. As the Countess was 
the greatest heiress of her day, the offer was readily accepted by 
the King, and the Countess, who was ' a proper, handsome, and a 
lively, tall, young lady of her age,' was taken up to London by her 
mother, in June, 1662, and appears to have made a favourable 
impression upon his Majesty. The marriage was celebrated on the 
20th April, 1663, ' in the Earl of Wemys' house, being there for the 
tyme, where his Majesty and the Queen were present with divers 
of the Cowrt.' Charles conferred upon his son, on the day of his 
marriage, the titles of Duke of Buccleuch, Earl of Dalkeith, and 
Lord Scott of Whitchester and Eskdail, in addition to the Dukedom 
of Monmouth. The King also became bound to provide ^"40,000 
sterling to be invested in the purchase of land in Scotland in favour 
* See Scotts of Buccleuch, i. 365-69. t See Lamonfs Diary. 

216 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

of the Duke of Monmouth and his heirs. In 1666, the titles of the 
Duke and those of the house of Buccleuch were resigned into the 
hands of the King, along with the family estates, and were re- 
granted by charter under the Great Seal, and were to be held by the 
Duke and Duchess conjointly and severally, and independently of 
each other. In this way the right of the Duchess to the ducal 
honours, which she had previously held from mere courtesy as the 
wife of the Duke, were vested in her own person by express grant 
and creation. 

In compliance with a royal injunction, the Duke and Duchess of 
Monmouth remained at Court. But, though she took a prominent 
place in that gay circle, her Grace conducted herself with such 
prudence and propriety, that not the slightest imputation was ever 
made against her character or conduct. Count Grammont says 
that ' her mind possessed all those perfections in which the hand- 
some Monmouth was so deficient.' And Bishop Burnet mentions 
that the Duke of York ' commended the Duchess of Monmouth so 
highly as to say to me, that the hopes of a crown could not work on 
her to do an unjust thing.' She bore to Monmouth four sons and 
two daughters, and though the Duke was not a faithful husband, 
the Duchess was to him a most dutiful and affectionate wife, and 
habitually used her influence to counteract the violent counsels of 
his associates, and to prevent him from engaging in their desperate 
schemes. As long as he remained in England she kept him from 
being implicated in their treasonable plots; but, after he retired to 
Holland, beyond the reach of her prudent advice, he yielded to the 
solicitations of the men who led him on to his ruin. 

Soon after Monmouth had been captured and lodged in the 
Tower, the Duchess was, by royal command, sent to see him, 
accompanied by the Earl of Clarendon, keeper of the Privy Seal. 
' He saluted her, and told her he was very glad to see her,' but he 
directed the greater part of his discourse to the Earl of Clarendon, 
whose interest he earnestly implored. In answer, however, to a 
touching appeal from the Duchess, he said, ' she had always shown 
herself a very kind, loving, and dutiful wife toward him, and he had 
nothing imaginable to charge her with, either against her virtue and 
duty to him, her steady loyalty and affection towards the late King, 
or kindness and affection towards his children.' A few hours before 
his execution he took farewell of his wife and children. ' He spoke 
to her kindly,' says Macaulay, ' but without emotion. Though she 

The Scotts of Buccleuch. 217 

was a woman of great strength of mind, and had little cause to love 
him, her misery was such that none of the bystanders could refrain 
from weeping.'* 

After the death of the Duke of Monmouth, his English peerages 
were forfeited, and a sentence of forfeiture against him and his 
descendants was likewise pronounced by the Court of Justiciary in 
Scotland which forfeited the Scottish titles held by Monmouth, and 
might have affected also the rights of his children, though not ot 
the Duchess. To prevent this she resigned her honours and 
estates to the Crown, 16th April, 1687, and obtained a new 
grant to herself and her heirs. This re-grant was ratified by the 
Parliament, 15th June, 1693. In July, 1690, the sentence of for- 
feiture against the Duke of Monmouth was revoked. But the duke- 
dom of Buccleuch is not inherited, as Sir Walter Scott supposed, 
under that Recissory Act, but under the re-grant of 1687. 

Three years after the death of Monmouth, the Duchess, then in 
her thirty-eighth year, took for her second husband, Charles, third 
Lord Cornwall is, with whom she seems to have lived very happily. 
She had issue to him one son and two daughters. Her education 
had been greatly neglected, as her letters show; but she could 
express her opinions and wishes in a clear, terse, and forcible 
manner. She was a strong-minded, high-spirited woman. Evelyn 
said of her, ' She is one of the wisest and craftiest of her sex, and 
has much wit.' According to Dr. Johnson, she was ' inflexible in 
her demand to be treated as a princess.' In some of her charters 
she even adopted the style of ' Mighty Princess.' At dinner she 
was attended by pages, and served on the knee, while her guests 
stood during the repast. She had a great deal of prudence and 
good sense, so that though she persisted in retaining in her own 
hands during her life all her rights, possessions, and authority, she 
managed her affairs with great discretion, and by her purchases 
largely extended the family estates.f She had been recommended 
to transfer to her eldest son, in fee, her estates, reserving to herself 
only a life rent interest, like the Duchess of Hamilton. But this 
she steadily declined to do. ' Till I change my mind,' she said, ' I 
will keep all the rights I enjoy from God, and my forefathers. I did 
not com to my estate befor my time. I was my sister's aire ; and I 

* Contemporary Manuscripts, Scotts of Buccleuch, i. 447-50. 

t It is interesting to know that when the Duchess bought the lands of Smeaton 
from Sir James Richardson, five colliers and twelve bearers to work the Smeaton coal 
were disposed of as serfs along with the estate. 

2 1 8 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

bliss God I have children which I trust in His mercy will be mine 
when I am dead. The Duchess of Hamilton is but a woman, and 
we are not such wis creatures as men, so I will folow no exampull 
of that sort, till I see all the nobellmen in Scotland resin to ther 
sons, then I will consider of the busines.' In another letter she 
says, 'I love my child as well as anie body living ever lov'd ther own 
flesh and bloud, but will never be so blinded whilst I keepe my 
reason, as to lessen myself in my own famelly, but will keepe my 
outhority and be the head of it whilst it pleases God to give me life. 
I am a man in my own famelly.' 

The Duchess accordingly kept a sharp eye even on the minute 
details of her affairs, and took an interest not only in the appoint- 
ment of the ministers on her estates, and their assistants, but of 
the schoolmasters also. On the occasion of a vacancy in the church 
at Dalkeith, she says, ' If I may not absolutely choose, I would, 
however, have the best of the gaung.' When a minister was about 
to be appointed to the church of Hawick, ' Of all the canditats for 
Hawick,' she said, ' I am for the modrat man.' On making 
arrangements for the appointment of an assistant to the minister 
at Dalkeith, her Grace wrote, 'I have fixed a sume for the 
minister's helper at Dakith, as you proposed; so the Kirk will love 
uss both, but I fear will not reckon uss of the number of the godly.' 
When asking Lord Royston to undertake ' a troublesome business, 
that of placing a schoolmaster at Dalkeith,' she says, ' Choos one 
qualified for the place as a scholar, and one who is not high flown 
upon any account.' Her long residence in England gave rise to 
an impression that she had ceased to take much interest in her 
native country, and in the tenantry on her Scottish estates. Against 
this notion she protested most vigorously. ' The Scott's hart,' she 
says, ' is the same I brought to England, and will never chang, as 
I find by long experience.' Her extensive purchases of land were 
all made in Scotland. On receiving the arrears of her jointure she 
remarked, ' I own I should be glad to buy Scotts land with English 
money.' And she declared that she would never part with one inch 
of ground that ever did belong to her family inheritance.* 

With all her firmness and strong will, the Duchess had a kind 
heart. She gave a point-blank refusal to a proposal that she should 
increase her income by adopting a system of letting her estates 
which she thought would be injurious to her tenants. ' You know,' 

* Scotts of Bucclcuch, i, 475-77. 

The Scotts of Buccleuch. 2 1 9 

she wrote to Lord Melville, ' I think it would rewin the tenants, or else, 
I am sure, opress them, which I will never do, and I am resolved 
nobody ever shall do it whilst I live.' She exerted herself successfully, 
in 1 69 1, to save the life of a poor man who, when intoxicated, was 
induced by an innkeeper to drink a treasonable toast. Writing in 
his behalf, from Dalkeith, to the Earl of Leven, she said, ' Your 
Lordship will think me soliciter for all mankind, but whair ther is 
no murdar I would have nobody dey befor ther time . . . Now I know 
not which way to endever the presarvation of this poor man, but if 
it can be don, if you would give derection or helpe in this, do not 
laugh at me. I am no soldeur, but a poor merciful woman.' * 

This was not the only instance in which the Duchess interfered to 
save the life of a Jacobite. Sir Walter Scott relates in his Auto- 
biography that his great-grandfather, ' Beardie,' who fought for the 
Stewarts under Dundee and the Earl of Mar, ran ' a narrow risk of 
being hanged, had it not been for the interference of Anne, Duchess 
of Buccleuch and Monmouth.' 

Her Grace died on 6th February, 1732, at the good old age of 
nearly eighty-one years. She was the last of the race who exhibited 
the characteristic traits of the 'Bauld Buccleuch.' Her descendants 
were of a different and milder type — 

' In them the savage virtues of the race, 
Revenge and all ferocious thoughts, were dead,' 

and they have for successive generations been distinguished for 
their amiable disposition, their kindness to their tenantry and re- 
tainers, their strong common sense, their patriotism, and their 
generosity in promoting the social welfare of the community, rather 
than for any ambition to manage the affairs of the state. 

James, Earl of Dalkeith, the second and eldest surviving son 
of the Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch and Monmouth, predeceased 
his mother in 1705, in the thirty-first year of his age, greatly 
lamented on account of his many amiable qualities, and Duchess 
Anne was succeeded by her grandson — 

Francis, second Duke of Buccleuch, who married Lady Jane 
Douglas, eldest daughter of the second Duke of Oueensberry, whose 
titles and estates were inherited by their grandson, the third Duke of 
Buccleuch. It is somewhat singular that a marriage was at one 

* Scotts of Buccleuch^ i. 466. 

2 20 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

time proposed between Duke Francis, when Earl of Dalkeith, and 
another Lady Jane Douglas, the only sister of the Duke of Douglas, 
whose marriage to Sir John Stewart led to the famous ' Douglas 
Case.' (See The Angus Douglases, i. 91.) If this proposal had 
been carried into effect, it would, in all probability have united the 
dukedom of Buccleuch with that of Douglas, instead of Queensberry. 
It is not improbable that the duel which took place between the 
Earl of Dalkeith and his intended brother-in-law may have had 
something to do with this affair. Duchess Anne, who was dis- 
pleased at the breaking off of the match, imputed the blame to the 
Duchess of Queensberry, of whom she pungently remarked, ' She 
has the same fait which some others has in this worald, more power 
than they deserve.' Strange to say, however, the extensive estates, 
though not the titles of the Douglas family, were inherited by the 
great-granddaughter of Duke Francis. (See The Homes, i. 386.) 

The forfeited English titles of the Duke of Monmouth were 
restored to his grandson, Duke Francis, by Act of Parliament, in 
1743, and from that time the Dukes of Buccleuch sit in the House 
of Lords as Earls of Doncaster. His Grace died in 175 1. He had 
two sons and three daughters by Lady Jane Douglas, who died in 
1729. ' She was as good a young woman as ever I knew in all my 
life,' wrote Duchess Anne of her, at the time of her lamented decease. 
* I never saw any one thing in her that I could wish wer otherways.' 

Their eldest son, Francis, Earl of Dalkeith, born in 1721, married 
in 1742 Lady Caroline Campbell, eldest daughter and co-heiress of 
John, Duke of Argyll and Greenwich, the celebrated statesman and 
general. The Earl died of smallpox in 1750, in the thirtieth year of 
his age. His widow married in 1755 the well-known statesman, 
Charles Townshend, and was created Baroness Greenwich, in her own 
right, in 1767. She inherited a portion of the unentailed property 
of her father, and through her Granton and other estates were added 
to the possessions of the Buccleuch family. By his Countess the 
Earl of Dalkeith had four sons and two daughters. As he pre- 
deceased his father, the Earl's eldest surviving son — 

Henry, became third Duke of Buccleuch in 1751, and in 18 10 he 
succeeded to the titles and large estates of the Queensberry family. 
He was educated at Eton, and in 1764 his Grace and his brother, 
Campbell Scott, set out on their travels, accompanied by the cele- 
brated Adam Smith, author of the ' Wealth of Nations,' who received 

The Scoffs of Bucclaich. 221 

an annuity of ^300 in compensation for the salary of his chair of 
Moral Philosophy in the University of Glasgow, which he had of 
course to resign when he undertook the charge of the young Duke. 
Their tour, which lasted nearly three years, afforded an opportunity 
to the philosopher and his pupils to become acquainted with Ouesnay, 
Turgot, D'Alembert, Necker, Marmontel, and others who had 
attained the highest eminence in literature and science. The Duke's 
brother, the Hon. Campbell Scott, was assassinated in the streets of 
Paris on the 18th of October, 1766, and immediately after this sad 
event his Grace returned to London. For Adam Smith, who had 
nursed him during an illness at Compiegne with remarkable tender- 
ness and assiduous attention, the Duke cherished the greatest affec- 
tion and esteem. ' We continued to live in friendship,' he said, 
' till the hour of his death ; and I shall always remain with the impres- 
sion of having lost a friend, whom I loved and respected not only 
for his great talents, but for every private virtue.' It was through 
the Duke's influence that Smith was appointed, in 1778, one of the 
Commissioners of Customs in Scotland. 

On the commencement of the war with France in 1778, his Grace 
raised a regiment of ' Fencibles,' which was called out to suppress 
the anti-Catholic riots in Edinburgh. Throughout his whole life 
the Duke showed a marked predilection for the society of literary 
men, and he was the first President of the Royal Society of Edin- 
burgh. Dr. Carlyle of Inveresk, who passed several glowing 
eulogiums on Duke Henry, both in prose and verse, says, at the time 
when he was about to visit his estates on coming of age, ' The 
family had been kind to their tenants, and the hopes of the country 
were high that this new possessor of so large a property might 
inherit the good temper and benevolence of his progenitors. I may 
anticipate what at first was only guessed, but came soon to be 
known, that he surpassed them all, as much in justice and humanity 

as he did in superiority of understanding and good sense 

In this Duke was revived the character which Sir James Melville 
gave his renowned predecessor in Queen Mary's reign, ' Sure and 
true, stout and modest.'* 

Numerous anecdotes are told illustrative of the simplicity, geniality, 

and generosity of the Duke's character, some of which have been 

embodied in verse. He is said to have sometimes paid visits in 

disguise to the tenants and peasants on his estate. The Border 

* Autobiography of Dr. Alexander Carlyle, 489-90. 

222 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

poet, Henry Riddell, puts an allusion to this habit into the mouth 
of an old man in Glendale, in whose hut the Duke was said on one 
occasion to have passed a night : — 

' And yet they say he's curious ways, 

And slyly comes among them, 
Like old King James ; and they say more, 
He's o'er indulgent to the poor — 

Ye'd think that needna wrang them.' 

It was mainly to the Duke of Buccleuch's influence that Sir Walter 
Scott was indebted for his appointment to the office of sheriff-depute 
of Selkirkshire in 1799, and in 1806 to that of one of the principal 
clerks of the Court of Session. 

The Duke died at Dalkeith House on nth January, 1812, in the 
sixty-sixth year of his age. The news of his death caused deep 
sorrow among all classes, and there was scarce a dry eye among the 
attendants at his funeral. ' There never lived a man in a situation 
of distinction,' said Sir Walter at the time of the Duke's death, ' so 
generally beloved, so universally praised, so little detracted from or 
censured. . . . The Duke's mind was moulded upon the kindliest 
and most single-hearted model, and arrested the affections of all 
who had any connection with him. He is truly a great loss to 
Scotland, and will be long missed and lamented.'* 

The Duke married, 2nd May, 1767, Lady Elizabeth Montagu, 
only daughter of the last Duke of Montagu, who survived till 1827. 
Their eldest son, George, died in infancy. Henry James Montagu, 
the third son, inherited, in 1790, the estates of his maternal grand- 
father, and became Lord Montagu. The second son — 

Charles William Henry, became fourth Duke of Buccleuch 
and sixth Duke of Oueensberry. He was a nobleman of singular 
amiability and generosity, but unfortunately possessed the family 
honours and estates only seven years, and was cut off in the forty- 
seventh year of his age. The Queensberry estates had, under the 
last Duke (Old O) been neglected and devastated, the fine old 
trees cut down, and the mansion house allowed to fall into decay. 
The new comer set himself energetically to rescue it from dilapida- 
tion, and it cost him ,£60,000 to make it wind and water-tight. He 
planted an immense number of trees to replace those cut down by 
the • degenerate Douglas,' and rebuilt all the cottages, in which, as 

* Life of Sir Walter Scott, ii. 392. 

The Scoffs of Bucckuch. 


Scott said, ' an aged race of pensioners of Duke Charles and his 
wife, " Kitty, blooming, young, and gay," had, during the last reign, 
been pining into rheumatisms and agues, in neglected poverty.' It 
has been calculated that he spent on the Queensberry estates eight 
times the income he actually derived from them during his brief 

Sir Walter Scott, in his obituary notice of the Duke, mentions a 
striking example of the disinterested manner in which his Grace 
administered his estates, and of his generous sympathy with his 
retainers : — 

* In the year 1817, when the poor stood so much in need of 
employment, a friend asked the Duke why his Grace did not propose 
to go to London in the spring. By way of answer the Duke showed 
him a list of day-labourers then employed in improvements on his 
different estates, the number of whom, exclusive of his regular 
establishment, amounted to nine hundred and forty-seven persons. 
If we allow to each labourer two persons whose support depended on 
his wages, the Duke was, in a manner, foregoing, during this 
severe year, the privilege of his rank, in order to provide with more 
convenience for a little army of nearly three thousand persons, 
many of whom must otherwise have found it difficult to obtain 
subsistence. 'f 

The Duke was a warm friend of Sir Walter Scott, and took a 

deep interest in his welfare. The letters which passed between 

them show their strong mutual attachment ; and when the Duchess 

passed away ' in beauty's bloom,' it was to the ' Minstrel of the 

Clan ' that the Duke at once turned for sympathy and consolation. 

Sir Walter cherished an unbounded admiration of this lady. On 

receiving the unexpected intimation of her death (Aug. 24th, 1814), 

he thus expressed his opinion of her in his Diary: ' She was indeed 

a rare example of the soundest good sense, and the most exquisite 

purity of moral feeling, united with the utmost grace and elegance 

of personal beauty, and with manners becoming the most dignified 

rank in British society. There was a feminine softness in all her 

deportment which won universal love, as her firmness of mind and 

correctness of principle commanded veneration. To her family her 

loss is inexpressibly great.' % 

* Scotts of Bucckuch, \. 503. f Scott's Miscellaneous Works. 

% Lockhart's Life of Sir Walter Scoit, iii. 268. 

224 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

The ' Lay of the Last Minstrel,' which was dedicated to the Duke, 
was written in compliance with the wish of the Duchess, who was at 
that time Countess of Dalkeith. In his preface to the edition of 
1813, the author says, 'The lovely young Countess of Dalkeith, 
afterwards Harriet, Duchess of Buccleuch, had come to the land of 
her husband with the desire of making herself acquainted with its 
traditions and customs, as well as its manners and history. All who 
remember this lady will agree that the intellectual character of her 
extreme beauty, the amenity and courtesy of her manners, the 
soundness of her understanding, and her unbounded benevolence, 
gave more the idea of an angelic visitant than of a being belonging 
to this nether world ; and such a thought was but too consistent 
with the short space she was permitted to tarry among us.' Scott 
proceeds to mention that an aged gentleman near Langholm com- 
municated to her ladyship the story of Gilpin Horner, in which he, 
like many more of the district, was a firm believer. The Countess 
was so delighted with the legend, and the gravity and full confi- 
dence with which it was told, that she enjoined on Scott, as a task, 
to compose a ballad on the subject. ' Of course,' he adds, ' to hear 
was to obey,' and the result was the composition of the immortal 
' Lay.' 

The poet has also commemorated the virtues and graces of the 
Duchess, and especially her kindness to the poor, in the following 
beautiful passage in the introduction to the second canto of 
' Marmion,' which was written while her ladyship was absent from 
the district, but must have been felt more keenly after her death : — 

' And she is gone, whose lovely face 
Is but her least and lowest grace ; 
Though if to Sylphid Queen 'twere given 
To show on earth the charms of heaven, 
She could not glide along the air, 
With form more light, or face more fair. 
No more the widow's deafen'd ear 
Grows quick that lady's step to hear : 
At noontide she expects her not, 
Nor busies her to trim the cot ; 
Pensive she turns her humming wheel, 
Or pensive cooks her orphans' meal ; 
Yet blesses, ere she deals their bread, 
The gentle hand by which they're fed.' 

The Duchess took a warm interest in the Ettrick Shepherd, who 
often received from her tokens of her generous sympathy, and after 
her death obtained from the Duke for life the little farm of Altrive 

The Scolts of Buccleuch. 225 

Lake. He considered the poet, he said, as ' her legacy.' Her early 
death was a blow from which the Duke, who was in a delicate state 
of health, never recovered. 

Sir Walter Scott, who observed in 18 18, with great apprehension, 
that the malady under which the Duke laboured was making serious 
progress, earnestly recommended that he should try a change of 
climate, for the recovery of his health. In order to cheer his Grace's 
drooping spirits, he sent him regularly an ' Edinburgh Gazette 
Extraordinary,' containing the amusing gossip of the day. The 
Duke sailed for Lisbon in the spring of 18 19. Previous to his 
departure he wrote to Sir Walter, reminding him of his promise 
to sit to Raeburn for a portrait, which was to be placed in the 
library at Bowhill. ' A space for one picture is reserved over the 
fireplace, and in this warm situation I intend to place the Guardian 
of Literature. I should be happy to have my friend Maida appear. 
It is now almost proverbial, " Walter Scott and his dog." Raeburn 
should be warned that I am as well acquainted with my friend's 
hands and arms as with his nose ; and Vandyke was of my opinion, 
many of R.'s works are shamefully finished — the face studied, but 
everything else neglected. This is a fair opportunity of producing 
something really worthy of his skill.' 

The portrait, however, was never executed, in consequence of the 
death of the Duke, which took place on the 20th of April, 18 19. It 
was lamented by Scott as an irreparable loss. ' Such a fund of excel- 
lent sense,' he said, ' high principle, and perfect honour, have been 
rarely combined in the same individual.' He paid a graceful 
tribute to the Duke's memory, which was published at first in the 
1 Weekly Journal, and later in his ' Miscellaneous Works.' It 
concludes with this high and well merited eulogium : — 

' It was the unceasing labour of his life to improve to the utmost 
the large opportunities of benefiting mankind with which his situa- 
tion invested him. Others of his rank might be more missed in the 
resorts of splendour, and gaiety, frequented by persons of distinction. 
But the peasant, while he leans on his spade ; age, sinking to the 
grave in hopeless indigence ; and youth struggling for the means 
of existence, will long miss the generous and powerful patron, 
whose aid was never asked in vain, when the merit of the petitioner 
was unquestioned.' 

Duke Charles had by his Duchess — a daughter of Viscount 
VOL. 11. q 

226 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

Sydney — three sons and six daughters. The eldest son, George 
Henry, died in his tenth year, and the second, Walter Francis, suc- 
ceeded to the family titles and estates. 

Walter Francis Montagu -Douglas-Scott, fifth Duke of 
Buccleuch and seventh Duke of Queensberry, was born in 1806, 
and was left an orphan at the early age of thirteen. His uncle, Lord 
Montagu, however, watched over him with all a father's care, and, 
guided by the advice of Sir Walter Scott, as shrewd as it was affec- 
tionate, his lordship made most judicious arrangements for the 
education and training of his nephew for the responsible position 
which he was one day to occupy. It appears that the young Duke 
had naturally some turn for history and historical anecdote, and 
Sir Walter earnestly recommended that he should be induced to 
read extensively in that most useful branch of knowledge, and to 
make himself intimately acquainted with the history and institutions 
of his country, and her relative position with regard to other 
countries. ' It is, in fact,' he wrote, ' the accomplishment which of 
all others comes most home to the business and heart of a public 
man, and the Duke of Buccleuch can never be regarded as a pri- 
vate one. Besides, it has in a singular degree the tendency to ripen 
men's judgment upon the wild political speculations now current.'* 

The youthful nobleman was sent, in due course, to Eton ; but his 
health unfortunately became delicate in 182 1, and it was found 
necessary for him to take ' a temporary recess' from that seminary. 
It has frequently happened, however, as in the case of the Duke of 
Wellington, that the strongest and best confirmed health has suc- 
ceeded in after life to a delicate childhood or youth ; and the Duke 
of Buccleuch enjoyed throughout his whole career, from manhood 
to old age, uninterrupted good health, to which his temperate habits 
no doubt largely contributed. He had the good fortune to obtain 
for his tutor Mr. Blakeney — grandson of General Blakeney, who was 
governor of Stirling Castle in 1745 — an accomplished gentleman, 
and an old friend and fellow-student at Cambridge of Lord Montagu. 
The Duke had just completed his curriculum at Eton, when he was 
called upon, at the age of sixteen, to receive King George IV., on the 
occasion of that sovereign's visit to Scotland in 1822. His Majesty 
was royally entertained at Dalkeith House, and seems in return to 
have treated his young host with kind and paternal attention. It was 

* Life of Scott, v. 71-2, 272-3. 

The Scott s of Buccleuch. 227 

probably by Mr. Blakeney's advice that the Duke, on leaving Eton, 
instead of being sent to Christchurch, Oxford — the favourite college 
xji the great Tory families — was entered at St. John's College, Cam- 
bridge, where he took the degree of Master of Arts in 1827. 

In the autumn of 1826, the year before the Duke came of age, 
Sir Walter Scott paid a visit to him at Drumlanrig, and entered in 
his journal the following opinion respecting his young chief. ' He 
has grown up into a graceful and apparently strong young man, and 
received us most kindly. I think he will be well qualified to sustain 
his difficult and important task. The heart is excellent, so are the 
talents. Good sense and knowledge of the world, picked up at one 
of the great English schools (and it is one of their most important 
results) will prevent him from being deceived ; and with perfect 
good-nature he has a natural sense of his own situation which will 
keep him from associating with unworthy companions. God bless 
him ! His father and I loved each other well, and his beautiful 
mother had as much of the angel as is permitted to walk this 
earth. ... I trust this young nobleman will be — 

" A hedge about his friends, 
A hackle to his foes." 

I would not have him quite so soft-natured as his grandfather, 
whose kindness sometimes mastered his excellent understanding". 
His father had a temper which better jumped with my humour. 
Enough of ill-nature to keep your good-nature from being abused, 
is no bad ingredient in their disposition who have favours to bestow.'* 
The young Duke grew up to be in this respect what his father's 
friend desired, and whatever failings he may have had, he had 
certainly no lack of firmness in adhering to his opinions and 

Although the death of his grandmother, the Dowager Duchess 
Elizabeth, cast a shadow over the proceedings, the Duke's coming 
of age was celebrated in Dumfriesshire with great enthusiasm. 

When the Duke of Buccleuch attained his majority, he entered 
into possession of dignities and estates, in number and extent 
equalled only by a very few of the old historical families. He 
inherited the ancient titles both of the Buccleuch Scotts and the 
Oueensberry Douglases, along with the restored titles of his 
paternal ancestor, the Duke of Monmouth, in all comprising two 

* Life of Scott, vi. 33S-9. 

228 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

dukedoms, a marquisate, four earldoms, three viscountys, and five 
baronies. He inherited the vast estates of the houses of Buccleuch 
and Oueensberry. At a later period the Montagu estates also came 
into his possession, amounting altogether to 459,260 acres, with a 
rent-roll of nearly a quarter of a million. 

He found, however, the Queensberry estates still in a dilapidated 
condition. ' T^he outraged castle,' says Sir Walter Scott, 'in 18 10 
stood in the midst of waste and desolation, except a few scattered old 
stumps not judged worth the cutting.' The Duke carried out on an 
extensive scale the improvements which his father had commenced on 
the demesne. ' The whole has been completely replanted,' said Sir 
Walter, ' and the scattered seniors look as graceful as fathers sur- 
rounded by their children. The face of this immense estate has 
been scarcely less wonderfully changed. The scrambling tenants 
who held a precarious tenure of lease under " Old O." at the risk (as 
actually took place) of losing their possession at his death, have 
given room to skilful men working their farms regularly, and enjoy- 
ing comfortable houses, at a rent which is enough to forbid idleness, 
but not to impair industry. 

In the spring of 1828, his Grace was appointed Lord-Lieutenant 
of Midlothian, and shortly after made a short tour on the Continent. 
On his return he took his seat in the House of Lords as Earl of Don- 
caster. A few months later he received a sumptuous entertainment 
at Dumfries from the gentlemen of the district, at which Sir Walter 
Scott, who was present, predicted for his young chieftain a noble 
career worthy of his ancestors and his position. Ten years after, 
the extent to which this anticipation had been realised was shown 
by the gathering at Branxholm of a thousand of the tenants and 
representatives from every part of his Grace's extensive estates, who 
bore grateful testimony to his unceasing kindness and liberality. 
In his dignified reply to the commendations bestowed upon him as 
an enlightened and generous landlord, the Duke spoke feelingly 
of the responsibilities attached to his position. What had been 
entrusted to him, he said, had not been given to him that it might 
be wasted in idle or frivolous amusements, nor would he be justified 
in wasting the hard earnings of the tillers of the soil, by carrying 
them away, and spending them in foreign countries. It was his wish 
to see them employed as the means of producing good to them, and 
to the country at large. ' You will find me ready,' he added, * to 
promote every scheme that is for the benefit of the country. Should 

The Scotts of Bucckuch. 22g 

I err, do not impute it to any intentional omission ; it may be an 
error of the judgment, it will not be an error of intention.' 

It was predicted by Sir Walter Scott, at the Dumfries banquet, 
that the Duke would be found foremost to support every benevolent 
measure, and this prediction was most amply fulfilled. In this, as in 
other respects, his Grace showed that he had inherited the virtues of 
his immediate progenitors. His father and grandfather were model 
landlords, and displayed much greater anxiety to discharge faithfully 
the duties of their high position, than to exact rigorously their 
rights and rents. They might indeed have sat for the portrait of 
the generous public benefactor portrayed in the Book of Job. Of 
them it might have been said, as it was of him, that ' When the ear 
heard them it blessed them, and when the eye saw them it gave 
witness to them ; because they delivered the poor that cried, and 
the fatherless, and him that had none to help him. The blessing of 
him that was ready to perish came upon them, and they caused the 
widow's heart to sing for joy.' Their descendant made it his study 
to walk closely in their footsteps, befriending the poor, supporting 
liberally benevolent institutions of every kind, encouraging edu- 
cation, promoting industry and agricultural improvements, and 
taking a warm interest in everything relating to the comfort and 
prosperity of the large population settled on his estates. 

From his majority to the close of his career, the Duke took a 
deep interest in all that pertains to practical agriculture. The farm 
buildings and cottages on his own estates are models of neatness and 
comfort ; the farms are in a high state of cultivation, and the tenants 
have received every encouragement to carry on improvements. 
Shortly after coming of age he became a member of the Highland 
Society; in 1830 he was elected a vice-president, and a year later 
was appointed president of the society, an office which he held until 
1835. An exceptional honour was conferred upon the Duke in 
1866, when he was for the second time elected president of the 
society, and continued to fill the chair until 1869. The Thornhill 
Agricultural Society has been from its birth under his Grace's 
fostering care, and he was also the originator, and chief supporter, 
of the Union Agricultural Society of Dumfries and Galloway. He 
was very successful at both local and national shows as a breeder 
and exhibiter of stock, and contributed not a little by his example to 
stimulate tenant-farmers in the improvement of their cattle and sheep. 

The Duke's shrewdness, energy, and business habits were dis- 

230 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

played not only in the discharge of his duties as a landlord, and 
an enterprising- agriculturalist, but also in the management of 
county affairs, in which his influence was predominant. To him 
the country is indebted for the gigantic and costly works within 
two miles of Edinburgh, on the shore of the Firth of Forth, which 
were commenced in the year 1835, as Mn Adam Black said, at 
a public dinner, ' with no view to private advantage, but solely on 
the solicitation of others, for the sake of the community.' They 
have made Granton one of the most commodious of modern har- 
bours, which, besides being a ferryboat port for the North British 
Railway, has a regular steam communication with London, and with 
Sweden and Norway. His Grace has also taken a leading part, 
along with the Duke of Devonshire, in the erection of docks at 
Barrow-in-Furness, Lancashire, which have transformed a fishing- 
village into a populous and prosperous commercial town. 

The political principles adopted by the Duke may be said to have 
been hereditary in his family, and his shrewdness and sound judg- 
ment, as well as his high rank and vast possessions, naturally led to 
his becoming the leader of the Scottish Conservative party. This 
position was rather thrust upon him than sought by him, and he 
exercised great influence in a quiet, undemonstrative manner. He 
was, indeed, virtually Minister for Scotland whenever the Conserva- 
tives were in office. He seems to have had not much taste or inclina- 
tion for political office, and the management of his estates and his 
attention to public social affairs left him little time to devote to 
parliamentary discussions ; but he consented to hold the office of 
Privy Seal from February, 1842, to January, 1846, in the Ministry 
of Sir Robert Peel. When Lord Stanley seceded from the Govern- 
ment, and other great landed proprietors offered a violent opposition 
to the repeal of the Corn Laws, the Duke of Buccleuch wrote to his 
political chief, ' I feel it to be my imperative duty to my sovereign 
and my country to make every personal sacrifice. I am ready, there- 
tore, at the risk of any imputation that may be cast upon me, to 
give my decided support, not only to your administration generally, 
but to the passing through Parliament of a measure for the final settle- 
ment of the Corn Laws.' In order publicly to manifest his resolution 
to give the policy of Sir Robert Peel his cordial support, he accepted 
the office of President of the Council, which had become vacant by 
the death of Lord Wharncliffe. His Grace, of course, retired on 
the defeat of the Ministry in 1846, and never again returned to office. 

The Scoffs of Buccleuch. 231 

As the Duke advanced in years, tokens of the universal respect in 
which he was held were multiplied. While still a youth, the Duke 
of Wellington created him a Knight of the Thistle — a distinction 
which he resigned when he received the Order of the Garter from 
Sir Robert Peel in 1834. In London he was made High Steward of 
Westminster, and a Governor of the Charterhouse. In 1841 he was 
appointed to the Lord-Lieutenancy of Roxburghshire, in addition to 
that of Midlothian. In the following year he had the honour of 
entertaining the Oueen on the occasion of her first visit to Scotland. 
As Captain-General of the Royal Company of Archers, it was his 
duty to receive, and to be in close attendance, on her Majesty when 
she landed at Granton. In recognition of his sympathy with scien- 
tific pursuits and aims, he was elected President of the British Asso- 
ciation, which met at Dundee in September, 1867. He contributed 
the handsome sum 0^4,000 to the fund for extending the buildings 
of the Edinburgh University, for which the senatus expressed their 
gratitude, along with their recognition of the Duke's eminent position, 
and general public services, by conferring on him, in 1874, the 
honorary degree of LL.D. His Grace had previously received the 
same distinction from his Alma Mater, while Oxford had bestowed 
upon him its corresponding degree of D.C.L. He was President of 
the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland ; and to crown the honours 
which he received of this class, on the lamented death of Sir William 
Stirling Maxwell, his Grace, with the cordial approval of all parties, 
political and ecclesiastical, was chosen Chancellor of the University 
of Glasgow. 

While the old age of the Duke was thus accompanied by ' honour, 
love, obedience, troops of friends,' one of the most gratifying tokens 
of the esteem in which he was held was afforded by the celebration 
of his jubilee as a landlord in the Music Hall of Edinburgh, on the 
7th of May, 1878. At the banquet, which was attended by between 
four and five hundred gentlemen of all political parties, and from all 
parts of the country, his Grace was presented with an illuminated 
address from seven hundred of his tenants in Scotland, expressing 
their appreciation of his intimate and personal knowledge of what 
constitutes good husbandry, and his constant encouragement of 
every appliance that tends to the agricultural improvement of his 
estates, always thinking and acting for others, rather than for himself. 
Referring to the management of his estates, which he had carried 
out for fifty years, the Duke, in his reply, said he had found it no 

232 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

easy task. Although a labour of love, it had been one of great 
exertion, and had it not been for the kindly feeling which had always 
subsisted between his tenantry and himself, he could not have ful- 
filled the duties and obligations laid upon him. ' I do not pretend to 
say,' he added, ' that I have done my duty without any omission, but 
only that I have endeavoured to do it. I cannot but look back upon 
many opportunities that have been lost, and many occasions of 
doing good that I have missed, upon things said by me, and done by 
me which I now bitterly regret. But I have always acted in an open 
and straightforward manner, without any compromise or subterfuge of 
any kind. I have acted with political friends, and political opponents, 
and during the long period of my life I am not aware that I have in 
any instance lost a friend, or made an enemy.' His Grace was well 
entitled to make this statement, which will be cordially re-echoed by 
all who have ever had the pleasure of co-operating with him, in any 
public or benevolent undertaking. His manly and touching expres- 
sion of deep regret for some things he had said and done was well 
fitted to produce a favourable impression on his political opponents, 
and especially on that ecclesiastical body with which his Grace had 
unfortunately come into collision thirty -five years before. The 
honours which were regarded as merited by the Duke were, how- 
ever, not yet exhausted. In the course of 1883 a project was set on 
foot for a national memorial, as a tribute to his Grace's public and 
private character, and the manner in which he had discharged the 
duties of his high position throughout his long and distinguished 
career. The proposal met with a prompt and cordial response. The 
sum of ^10,000 was subscribed by persons of all political parties, 
and nearly all classes of the community. It was resolved that the 
money should be expended in the erection of a statue of the Duke 
in Edinburgh, which has been erected on an appropriate site in the 
vicinity of St Giles's Church. 

The Duke died, after a short illness, on the 16th of March, 1884, 
in the seventy-eighth year of his age. 

His Grace was married in 1829 to Lady Charlotte Anne Thynne, 
youngest daughter of the second Marquis of Bath, by whom he has 
had a family of five sons and three daughters. His eldest son, 
William Henry Walter, has succeeded to the family titles and 
estates in Scotland. Henry John Montagu-Douglas-Scott, his second 
Bon, has inherited the estates in England, and has been created Baron 
Montagu, the title held by his grand-uncle. 


I HE Scotts of Harden are descended from Walter Scott 
of Sinton, who traced his pedigree to John, second son 
of Sir Michael Scott of Murthockstone. According to 
Satchells, ' he was so lame he could neither run nor ride.' 
Robert Scott of Strickshaws, second son of Walter, seventh laird of 
Sinton, flourished in the reign of James V., and distinguished him- 
self at the battle of Melrose. He had three sons, the eldest of whom, 
Walter, called ' Watty Fire-the-Braes,' succeeded his uncle in the 
estate of Sinton. The second son, William Scott, was the first 
laird of Harden, having acquired the estate from Lord Home in 1501. 
Almost all that is known of this branch of the Scott clan is derived 
from the researches of Sir Walter Scott, with whom it was a labour 
of love to draw up the pedigree of the different branches of the family, 
and to record their exploits. William Scott was called ' Willy with 
the Boltfoot,' from a lameness caused by a wound which he received 
in battle. Of this redoubted Borderer, Satchells says: — 

* The Laird and Lady of Harden , 
Betwixt them procreat was a son 
Called William Boltfoot of Harden ; 
He did survive to be a MAN.' 

' The emphasis,' says Lockhart, ' with which this last line was 
quoted by Sir Walter Scott I can never forget. Boltfoot was, in fact, 
one of the ' prowest knights of the whole genealogy — a fearless 
horseman and expert spearman, renowned and dreaded; and I sup- 
pose I have heard Sir Walter repeat a dozen times, as he was dash- 
ing into the Tweed and Ettrick, " rolling red from brae to brae," a 
stanza from what he called an old ballad, though it was most likely 
one of his own early imitations : — 

234 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

" To tak' the foord he aye was first, 
Unless the English loons were near : 
Plunge vassal then, plunge horse and man, 
Auld Boltfoot rides into the rear." ' 

Boltfoot's son was the renowned Walter Scott of Harden, com- 
monly called ' Auld Wat,' whose marauding exploits have been 
commemorated in many a Border tradition and ballad. The old 
castle of Harden, the stronghold of this renowned freebooter, which 
is still in good preservation, stands on the very brink of a dark and 
precipitous dell, through which a scanty rivulet steals to meet the 
Borthwick, a tributary of the Teviot. Leyden, in his ' Scenes of 
Infancy,' has given a description, as accurate as it is spirited, of the 
appearance of the mansion, and its surrounding scenery : — 

' Where Bortha hoarse, that loads the meads with sand, 
Rolls her red tide to Teviot's western strand, 
Through slaty hills, whose sides are shagg'd with thorn, 
Where springs in scattered tufts the dark green corn, 
Towers wood-girt Harden, far above the vale, 
And clouds of ravens o'er the turrets sail ; 
A hardy race, who never shrunk from war, 
The Scott, to rival realms a mighty bar, 
Here fixed his mountain home — a wide domain, 
And rich the soil, had purple heath been grain.' 

In the recess of the glen on the edge of which the mansion stands, 
Wat of Harden kept his spoil, which served for the maintenance of 
his retainers. . When the supply was exhausted the production of a 
pair of clean spurs in a covered dish, was a significant hint to the 
hungry band that they must seek a supply of beeves from the 
Northumbrian pastures to replenish the larder. 

' And loud and loud, in Harden tower 

The quaigh gaed round wi' mickle glee ; 
For the English beef was brought in bovver, 
And the English ale flowed mernlie. 

They ate, they laughed, they sang and quaffed, 

Till nought on board was seen, 
When knight and squire were boune to dine, 

But a spur of silver sheen.' * 

Sir Walter Scott, in connection with this custom, relates one of 
the many anecdotes which tradition has preserved respecting this 
redoubtable chief. ' Upon one occasion when the vrrlage herd was 

* The Reiver's Wedding, Lockhart's Life of Scott, i. 354. The identical spurs are 
now in the possession of Lord Polwarth. See the Scoffs of Bucclcuch, where an 
engraving is given of these notable relics. 

The Scot Is of Harden. 235 

driving - out the cattle to pasture, the old laird heard him call out 
loudly to drive out Harden' s cow. " Harden's cow!" echoed the 
affronted chief. " Is it come to that pass? By my faith, they shall 
soon say Harden's kye" (cows). Accordingly, he sounded his bugle, 
set out with his followers, and next day returned with a bow of kye 
and a bassened (brindled) bull.' 

On his return with his gallant prey, he passed a very large hay- 
stack. It occurred to the provident laird that this would be extremely 
convenient to fodder his new stock of cattle, but as no means of 
transporting it were obvious, he was fain to take leave of it, with the 
apostrophe, now become proverbial. ' By my saul, had ye but four 
feet ye should not stand long there.' In short, as Froissart says of a 
similar class of feudal robbers, nothing came amiss to them that 
was not too heavy or too hot. 

Auld Wat's bugle-horn is often referred to. An engraving of it 
is given in the ' Scotts of Buccleuch,' and shows its surface com- 
pletely covered with initials, cut or burned into the horn. Sir Walter, 
who must have often seen this interesting relic, thus describes it in 
the ' Reiver's Wedding' : — 

' He took a bugle frae his side, 

With names carv'd o'er and o'er, 
Full many a chief of meikle pride 
That Border bugle bore. 

He blew a note baith sharp and hie, 
Till rock and water rang around ; 

Three score of moss-troopers and three 
Have mounted at that bugle sound.' 

In the spirit-stirring ballad of 'Jamie Telfer' there is a most 
picturesque description of old Harden weeping for very rage when 
his kinsman, Willie Scott of Gorrinberry, was killed in the fray. 

1 But he's taen aff his gude steel cap, 
And thrice he's waved it in the air; 
The Dinlay snaw was ne'er mair white, 
Nor the lyart locks of Harden's hair. 

" Revenge ! revenge ! " Auld Watt 'gau cry ; 

" Fye, lads, lay on them cruellie ! 
We'll ne'er see Teviotside again, 

Or Willie's death revenged sail be." ' 

Sir Walter evidently had this striking picture in his eye when he 
wrote the famous description of Harden's appearance at Branksome. 
in the ' Lay of the Last Minstrel ' : — 

236 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

' An aged knight, to danger steel'd, 

With many a moss-trooper came on ; 
And azure in a golden field, 
The stars and crescent graced his shield, 

Without the bend of Murdieston. 
Wide lay his lands round Oakwood tower, 
And wide round haunted Castle-Ower; 
High over Borthwick's mountain flood, 
His wood-embosom'd mansion stood ; 
In the dark glen, so deep below, 
The herds of plundered England low ; 
His bold retainers' daily food, 
And bought with danger, blows, and blood. 
Marauding chief ! his sole delight 
The moonlight raid, the morning fight ; 
Not even the Flower of Yarrow's charms 
In youth, might tame his rage for arms. 
And still, in age, he spurn'd at rest, 
And still his brows the helmet press'd, 
Albeit the blanched locks below 
Were white as Dinlay's spotless snow. 

Five stately warriors drew the sword 
Before their father's band ; 

A braver knight than Harden's lord, 
Ne'er belted on a brand.'* 

Sir Walter mentions, in a note to the ballad of ' Jamie Telfer,* 
that Walter Scott of Harden was married to Mary Scott, celebrated 
in song by the title of the ' Flower of Yarrow.' By their marriage 
contract the father of that lady was to find Harden horse meat and 
man's meat, at his tower of Dryhope, for a year and a day ; but five 
barons pledged themselves that at the expiry of that period the son- 
in-law should remove without attempting to continue in possession 
by force — a condition which was referred to as a curious illustration 
of the unsettled character of the age. According to another tra- 
ditionary account, Harden, on his part, agreed to give Dryhope 
the profits of the first Michaelmas moon. The original, Sir Walter 
adds, is in the charter-chest of the present Mr. Scott of Harden. 
A notary-public signed for all the parties to the deed, none of whom 
could write their names. 

It is evident that Sir Walter had never examined the document 
in question, but had described it from common report. Mr. Fraser, 
who takes nothing for granted, was induced, by the peculiarity 
of these ante-nuptial conditions, to examine the original contract 
for the marriage, which bears date at. Selkirk, 21st March, 1576, 
and the parties to it are Walter Scott of Harden, and John Scott 

* Lay of the Last Minstrel, canto iv. stanza ix. 

The Scot Is of Harden. 237 

of Dryhope, for his daughter, Marion Scott. Walter and Marion 
became bound to celebrate their marriage before Lammas then 
next; and Walter obliges himself to infeft Marion in life-rent in 
the lands of Mabynlaw, as a part of Harden. The father of Marion 
Scott becomes bound to pay to Harden four hundred merks Scots, 
at the times specified, the balance being to be paid ' at the said 
Walter and Marion's passing to their awin hous.' For observ- 
ing the contract faithfully, the parties to the contract obliged 
them, by the faith and truth of their bodies, and by the ' ostentioun ' 
of their right hands.* The contract, however, contains nothing 
about providing meat for man and horse, or the five guaranteeing 
barons, and the profits of the Michaelmas moon. 

By the ' Flower of Yarrow ' the laird of Harden had six sons, five 
of whom survived him, and his extensive estates were divided 
among them. The sixth son was slain, at a fray in a hunting match, 
by the Scotts of Gilmanscleugh. His brothers flew to arms, but the 
old laird secured them in the dungeon of his tower, hurried to Edin- 
burgh, stated the crime, and obtained a gift of the lands of the 
offenders from the Crown. He returned to Harden with equal 
speed, relieved his sons, and showed them the charter. ' To horse, 
lads,' cried the savage warrior, ' and let us take possession. The 
lands of Gilmanscleugh are well worth a dead son.' The property 
thus obtained continued in the family till the beginning of last cen- 
tury, when it was sold by John Scott of Harden to Anne, Duchess 
of Buccleuch.f 

An interesting story has been preserved by tradition respecting 
one of the forays which Harden' s retainers made across the Border 
into Cumberland. On their return laden with spoil, which lay 
scattered in heaps around the hall, the lady of the mansion heard a 
wailing sound from one of the bundles, and on unloosing it found 
an infant wrapped in it, who flung his arms around her neck, and 
clung to her breast. She took charge of the little captive, and 
brought him up as her foster-child. He spent his life at Harden, 
but had no taste for the wild and adventurous enterprises of its 
marauding inmates, and passed his days in the quiet scenes of pastoral 
pursuits. He is said to have been the author of some of the most 
beautiful songs and ballads whose scenes are laid on the Borders. 
Leyden, in his ' Scenes of Infancy,' has embodied this touching 
story in the following beautiful lines : — 

* Scotts of Bucdeuch, i. xx. t Border Minstrelsy, ii. 1 1. 

238 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

' The waning harvest-moon shone cold and bright, 
The warder's horn was heard at dead of night ; 
And as the massy portals wide were flung, 
With stamping hoofs the rocky pavement rung. 
What fair, half-veiled, leans from her lattice hall, 
Where red the wavering gleams of torchlight fall ? 
Tis Yarrow's fairest flower, who through the gloom 
Looks wistful for her lover's dancing plume. 
Amid the piles of spoil that strew'd the ground, 
Her ear, all anxious, caught a wailing sound ; 
With trembling haste the youthful matron flew, 
And from the hurried heaps an infant drew. 

Scared at the light his little hands he flung 
Around her neck, and to her bosom clung ; 
While beauteous Mary soothed, in accents mild, 
His fluttering soul, and clasped her foster-child. 
Of milder mood the gentle captive grew, 
Nor loved the scenes that scared his infant view ; 
In vales remote, from camps and castles far, 
He shunned the fearful shuddering joy of war ; 
Content the loves of simple swains to sing, 
Or wake to fame the harp's heroic string. 

His are the strains, whose wandering echoes thrill 
The shepherd, lingering on the twilight hill, 
When evening brings the merry folding hours, 
And sun-eyed daisies close their winking flowers. 
He lived o'er Yarrow's Flower to shed the tear, 
To strew the holly leaves o'er Harden's bier ; 
But none was found above the minstrel's tomb, 
Emblem of peace, to bid the daisy bloom ; 
He, nameless as the race from which he sprung, 
Saved other names, and left his own unsung.' 

Auld Wat of Harden died about 1629, at a great age. His eldest 
son, Sir William, succeeded him as Baron of Harden ; his second 
son, Walter, was killed by the Scotts of Gilmanscleugh. Hugh, the 
third, was the progenitor of the Scotts of Gala. The ancient family 
estate of Sinton was conveyed by Auld Wat to his fifth son, Francis, 
who is the ancestor of the modern family of Sinton. Wat's six 
daughters, who probably inherited their mother's beauty, were all 
married to Border lairds. Margaret, the eldest, became the wife of 
Gilbert Elliot of Stobs, who for some unknown reason was called 
' Gibby with the Gowden [golden] Garters.' The fourth daughter was 
married to the famous freebooter, Scott of Tushielaw, who was desig- 
nated ' King of the Border.' 

Sir William Scott was a favourite of James VI., by whom he 
was knighted in the lifetime of his father. He obtained also 

The Scotts of Harden. 239 

charters of various lands in the Border counties. He embraced the 
cause of Charles I. during the Great Civil War, and was in conse- 
quence fined ^3,000 by Cromwell in 1654. He was a man of good 
abilities, and held various offices of trust, including the sheriffship of 
Selkirk ; but his memory has been preserved mainly by the romantic 
story connected with his marriage. It has been often told, but the 
fullest and best account of the incident is given by Sir Walter Scott, 
who was a firm believer in the accuracy of the narrative, and com- 
menced, but did not complete, a ballad upon it, called ' The Reiver's 
Wedding.' The following account of the affair is given by Sir 
Walter in his ' Border Antiquities.' He tells it also in a letter to 
Miss Seward, June 29, 1802.* 

' The Scotts and Murrays were ancient enemies ; and as the pos- 
sessions of the former adjoined to those of the latter, or lay 
contiguous to them on many points, they were at no loss for 
opportunities of exercising their enmity " according to the custom of 
the Marches." In the seventeenth century the greater part of the 
property lying upon the river Ettrick belonged to Scott of Harden, 
who made his principal residence at Oakwood Tower, a Border 
house of strength still remaining upon that river. William Scott 
(afterwards Sir William), son of the head of this family, undertook 
an expedition against the Murrays of Elibank, whose property lay at 
a few miles distant. He found his enemy upon their guard, was 
defeated, and made prisoner in the act of driving off the cattle he 
had collected for that purpose. Sir Gideon Murray, conducted his 
prisoner to the castle, where his lady received him with congratula- 
tions upon his victory, and inquiries concerning the fate to which 
he destined his prisoner. " The gallows," answered Sir Gideon — for 
he is said already to have acquired the honour of knighthood — " to 
the gallows with the marauder." " Hout, na, Sir Gideon," answered 
the considerate matron, in her vernacular idiom ; " would you hang 
the winsome young laird of Harden when you have three ill- 
favoured daughters to marry?" " Right," answered the baron, who 
catched at the idea, " he shall marry our daughter, Muckle-mouthed 
Meg, or strap for it." Upon this alternative being proposed to the 
prisoner, he upon the first view of the case stoutly preferred the 
gibbet to " Muckle-mouthed Meg," for such was the nickname of the 
young lady, whose real name was Agnes. But at length, when he 
was literally led forth to execution, and saw no other chance of 

* See Life of Scot t, i. 345-50. 

240 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

escape, he retracted his ungallant resolution, and preferred the typical 
noose of matrimony to the literal cord of hemp. Such is the tradition 
established in both families, and often jocularly referred to upon the 
Borders. It may be necessary to add that Muckle-mouthed Meg - and 
her husband were a happy and loving pair, and had a large family.' 
The common belief in the district was that all Meg's descend- 
ants have inherited something of her characteristic feature. Sir 
Walter Scott, who was one of them, certainly was no exception to 
the rule. Lockhart states that the contract of marriage, executed 
instantly on the parchment of a drum, is still in the charter-chest 
of Sir Walter Scott's representative. Mr. Fraser, who carefully 
examined the document, declares that ' the marriage of young 
Harden and Agnes Murray, instead of being a hurried business, 
was arranged very leisurely, and with great care, calmness, and 
deliberation by all the parties interested, including the two princi- 
pals, the bridegroom and bride, and the parents on either side. 
Instead of one contract, as is usual in such cases, there were two 
separate and successive contracts, made at an interval of several 
months, before the marriage was finally arranged.' The first 
contract bears date at Edinburgh, 18th February, 161 1. In it 
young Harden and Agnes Murray agree to solemnise their marriage 
in the face of Christ's Kirk, within two months and a half 
after the date of the contract. Stipulations are made in the docu- 
ment for the infeftment, by Walter Scott, of his son and his 
promised spouse, and their heirs male, in the lands of Harden and 
other lands belonging to Walter and William Scott; and Sir Gideon 
Murray on his part becomes bound to pay to William Scott the sum 
of seven thousand merks as tocher with his daughter. The contract 
is subscribed by Sir Gideon Murray, William Scott, and * Agnes 
Murray,' all good signatures. But as Auld Wat of Harden could 
not write, his subscription is thus given : ' Walter Scott of Harden, 
with my hand at the pen, led be the notaries vnderwritten at my 
command, becus I can not wryt.' The marriage however did not 
take place at the time specified in the contract, a failure which is 
not accounted for, and a second contract was made at the Provost's 
Place of Creichtoun, on the 14th of July, 161 1, in terms similar to 
those of the original contract. Taking all these circumstances into 
account, Mr. Fraser considers himself entitled to regard the story of 
' Muckle-mouthed Meg' as a myth.* 

* Scotts of Bucdeuch, i. Ixx. 

The Scotts of Harden. 241 

The existence and the terms of these two contracts no doubt show 
that the marriage of young- Harden and Agnes Murray was not a 
hastily-settled affair, regulated by a contract ' executed instantly on 
the parchment of a drum ; ' but it is difficult to believe that a story so 
minute and circumstantial in its details could have been entirely 
fictitious. Myths are of slow growth, and have always some fact as 
a foundation. Sir William Scott died in 1655. The eldest son of 
'Little Sir William' survived till 1707, and his second son lived 
three years longer. Sir Walter Scott was born in 1 7 7 1 , and the story 
must have been in circulation and universally credited long before his 
day. Is it not possible and probable that Sir William Scott was 
1 handfasted ' to Agnes Murray in some such circumstances as are 
narrated by his descendant, the poet ? And may not the delay in 
solemnizing the marriage, necessitating the formation of a second 
contract, have been caused by the reluctance of ' the handsomest 
man of his time ' to marry an ill-favoured bride ? 

Sir William Scott had by Agnes Murray five sons and three 
daughters. The eldest son, called 'Little Sir William,' was 
knighted by Charles II. immediately after the Restoration. The 
second was Sir Gideon of Highchester, whose posterity carried on 
the line of the family. Walter, the third son, called ' Watty Wud- 
spurs' (or Mad-spurs), figures characteristically in the ballad of 
' Jamie Telfer.' He was the ancestor of the Scotts of Raeburn. 
The fourth son was James of Thirlestaine ; and from John of Woll, 
the fifth son, the family of Woll are descended. 

Sir William Scott, fifth Baron of Harden, the son of ' Little Sir 
William,' was implicated in the rebellion of the Earl of Argyll, but 
he obtained a remission 12th December, 1685. He died without 
issue in 1707, and was succeeded by his only brother, Robert, 
styled of Iliston. He also had no issue, and was succeeded in 17 10 
by his cousin, Walter, son of Sir Gideon Scott of Highchester, who 
was so deeply implicated in the intrigue for the marriage of his son 
to the Countess of Buccleuch (seep. 214). As we have seen, he 
was created by Charles II. Earl of Tarras and Lord Almoor and 
Campcastill, ' for the days of his natural life,' and this barren honour 
was all that he gained by his marriage. He and his crafty, intriguing 
father continued to press upon the King his claims for the sum of 
£ 1 20,000 Scots, which, under the marriage contract, was to be 


242 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

paid to him in the event of the Countess predeceasing him within 
a year and a day of the date of the contract. All his efforts, 
however, were fruitless ; the marriage contract was reduced. An 
agreement with the Earl and Countess of Wemyss, that 20,000 
merks per annum should be secured to him by a decree of the 
Court, came to nothing, as ' my Lady Wemyss, notwithstanding all 
her promises and engagements, was not the least industrious in the 
matter.' Both Monmouth and his Duchess, however, spoke to the 
King for him, but he says, ' Truly the King, she found, was very 
little inclined to favour me, for he said, " Is it not enough that I have 
made him an Earle, though I doe no more?" and that the Duke 
answered that I was the worse of that, since I had not whereupon to 
maintain the post of an Earle, and that whate I pretended to was by 
vertue of my contract of marriage, for it was a shame I should have 
nothing upon that account. The King seemed not to notice much 
that which the Duke spoke anent my contract of marriage ; but said 
over again he had made me an Earle.' Under the influence of that 
' hope deferred which maketh the heart sick ' the Earl determined to 
leave the Court, and in September, 167 1, he wrote to his father, ' In 
a few days I am to parte homewarde, since I find my longer stay 
hier will be in vain.' The unlucky husband of the Countess Mary 
was certainly treated shabbily and unjustly, but at the same time 
it is impossible to feel much sympathy for his disappointment. 

The Earl of Tarras was connected with the plot for the exclusion 
of the Duke of York from the Crown, and on its discovery he was 
apprehended and tried for treason. He threw himself upon the 
King's mercy, and confessed all that he knew of the plot, ' either of 
himself or any other.' His evidence was made use of to procure the 
condemnation of the eminent patriot, Robert Baillie of Jerviswood. 
But his confession saved his own life, for, though he was brought to 
trial 5th January, 1685, found guilty, and condemned to be executed, 
the sentence was merely formal ; a remission was granted to him, 
and he was set at liberty under a bond of ^3, 000 for his appearance 
when called before the Privy Council. 

The Earl of Tarras married as his second wife, 31st December, 
1677, Helen, daughter of Thomas Hepburn of Humbie, and had 
issue by her five sons and five daughters. Through that marriage 
the estate of Humbie, in East Lothian, now belongs to Lord Pol- 
warth, the head of the Harden family. 

Lord Tarras was one of the first to take part in the Revolution of 

The Scott s of Harden. 243 

1688. He died in April, 1693, in the forty-ninth year of his age. 
His life dignities of course became extinct. His estates were 
inherited by his eldest son, Gideon Scott of Highchester, whose 
two sons possessed in turn the family estates, and both died without 
issue. Harden then devolved on their uncle, the second son of the 
Earl of Tarras, who was four times married, and left two sons, the 
elder of whom, Walter Scott, his heir, represented Roxburghshire in 
Parliament from 1747 to 1763, when he was appointed Receiver- 
General of the Customs, or Cashier of the Excise, in Scotland. He 
married Lady Diana Hume Campbell, youngest daughter of the 
third Earl of Marchmont, the only one of the three that had issue. 
He died in 1793. Lady Diana survived her husband the long 
period of thirty- four years, and died in 1827, in the ninety-fourth year 
of her age. ' She had conversed in her early days,' says Lockhart, 
1 with the brightest ornaments of the cycle of Queen Anne, and pre- 
served rich stores of anecdote, well calculated to gratify the 
curiosity and excite the ambition of a young enthusiast in literature. 
Lady Diana soon appreciated the minstrel of the clan, and sur- 
viving to a remarkable age, she had the satisfaction of seeing 
him at the height of his eminence — the solitary person who could 
give the author of " Marmion " personal reminiscences of Pope.' 
When this venerable lady died, Sir Walter Scott entered in his diary, 
on the 22nd of July, ' Lady Diana Scott was the last person whom I 
recollect so much older than myself, that she always kept at the 
same distance, in point of age, so that she scarce seemed older to 
me, relatively, two years ago, when in her ninety-second year, than 
fifty years before. She was the daughter (alone remaining) of 
Pope's Earl of Marchmont, and, like her father, had an acute mind 
and an eager temper. She was always kind to me, remarkably so 
indeed when I was a boy.'* 

Hugh Scott, the son of Mr. Walter Scott and Lady Diana, 
eleventh Baron of Harden, was born in 1758. He was elected 
member of Parliament for Berwickshire in 1780 — an honour which 
lost him a fine estate. (See vol. i. 404.) He married, in 1795, 
Harriet, daughter of Hans Maurice, Count de Bruhl, Saxon ambas- 
sador at the British Court. Sir Walter Scott, then a young man, 
was introduced to this lady shortly after marriage, and she gave him 
great assistance in his translations from the German. He used to 

* Scott's Life, vii. 48. Ibid, i. 248. 

244 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

say that ' she was the first woman of real fashion that took him up ; that 
she used the privilege of her sex and station in the truest spirit of 
kindness, set him right as to a thousand little trifles which no one 
else could have ventured to notice, and, in short, did for him what 
no one but an elegant woman can do for a young man whose early 
days have been spent in narrow and provincial circles.' She con- 
tinued through life his attached friend, and the letters which he 
wrote to her (the last of them from Naples, 6th March, 1832) show 
how cordially he reciprocated her esteem and regard. Of Harden 
himself, Sir Walter wrote to the Duke of Buccleuch, in 181 7, ' I have 
known Harden long, and most intimately — a more respectable man, 
either for feeling, or talent, or knowledge of human life, is rarely to 
be met with.' 

Mr. Scott succeeded in recovering, in 1835, the Barony of Polwarth, 
which had been conferred on his maternal ancestor, Sir Patrick Hume, 
in 1690. Seven years later, Sir Patrick was created Earl of March- 
mont and Viscount Blasonberry, and also, for the second time, Baron 
Polwarth. These honours were restricted to his heirs male, and their 
heirs male, and the heirs male of the family, but the first Barony of 
Polwarth was to descend to the heirs male of the first peer, and to 
their heirs. This destination of the peerage was long overlooked, 
and while various efforts were made, without success, to recover the 
earldom of Marchmont, it was not until many years after the death 
of the third Earl that attention was directed to the difference in dis- 
tinction between the first and the second Barony of Polwarth. Mr. 
Scott presented a petition to the House of Lords, claiming the first 
barony as grandson and nearest heir-of-line to the last Earl of March- 
mont, and had his claim allowed in 1835. Lord Polwarth died 28th 
December, 1841, and was succeeded by his eldest son — 

Henry Francis Hepburn Scott, fifth Baron Polwarth, who was 
born on 1st January, 1800. He assumed the name of Hepburn, on 
inheriting the estates of the Hepburns of Humbie, which descended 
to him through Helen Hepburn, the second wife of the Earl of 
Tarras. Lord Polwarth married, in 1835, Georgina Baillie, daughter 
of George Baillie of Jerviswood, a descendant of the illustrious 
patriot and Covenanter, who suffered the loss of life and estate 
for ' the Good Old Cause ' in the time of ' the Persecution/ Lord 
Polwarth held the office of Lord-Lieutenant and Sheriff-Prin- 
cipal of Selkirkshire, and was for many years one of the sixteen 

The Scotts of Harden. 245 

representative peers of Scotland. He was universally esteemed 
and respected throughout the Border counties, and his death, 
in 1867, caused wide and deep regret. The testimony, which 
the Duke of Buccleuch gave at the annual meeting of the Com- 
missioners of Supply for the county of Roxburgh, to the personal 
worth of Lord Polwarth, was cordially concurred in by all parties 
and all classes. ' For upwards of forty years,' said the Duke, ' he was 
one of the most indefatigable, most useful, and most attentive mem- 
bers of the various bodies connected with the county, and spared 
neither time nor trouble in the discharge of his manifold duties. His 
fine character as a gentleman stood as high as it was possible for 
any man's character to stand. For my own part, I feel that I have 
lost in Lord Polwarth one of my oldest and most steadfast friends, 
for whom I have always entertained the most affectionate regard.' 

Lord Polwarth was succeeded by his eldest son, Walter Hugh 
Hepburn Scott, sixth Baron Polwarth, who was born in 1838. 
His lordship holds the office, formerly held by his father, of Lord- 
Lieutenant and Sheriff- Principal of Selkirkshire. 

The Scotts of Raeburn are descended from Walter, third son 
of Sir William Scott, grandson of ' Auld Wat ' of Harden. Their 
chief claim to be kept in remembrance is based on the fact that Sir 
Walter Scott, the illustrious poet and novelist, belonged to the 
Raeburn family. Lockhart says ' Christie Steele's brief character 
of Croftangry's ancestry appears to suit well all that we have on 
record concerning Scott's immediate progenitors of the stubborn 
race of Raeburn : " They werena ill to the poor folk, and that is aye 
something; they were just decent, bein bodies. Any poor creature 
that had face to beg got an awmous, and welcome ; they that were 
shamefaced gaed by, and twice as welcome. But they keepit an 
honest walk before God and man, and as I said before, if they did 
little good, thev did little ill. They lifted their rents and spent 
them, called in their kain and eat them ; gaed to the kirk of a 
Sunday ; bowed civilly if folk tuk aff their bonnets as they gaed by, 
and lookit as black as sin at them that keepit them on." '* 

At the Restoration, the first laird of Raeburn and his wife, 3 
daughter of William MacDougal of Makerston, became Quakers, 
and were in consequence subjected to severe persecution by the 
tyrannical and oppressive Government of that day. Raeburn was 

* Life of Scott, vii. 87. 

246 The Great Historic Fa?nilies of Scotland. 

first imprisoned in the Tolbooth of Edinburgh, and was afterwards 
conveyed to the jail of Jedburgh, where his wife was incarcerated. 
No one was allowed to have access to them, except such persons as 
might be likely to convert them from their Quaker principles. 
Their children were taken from them by an edict of the Privy 
Council, in order that they might not be infected with the heresy of 
their parents, and the laird was ordered to pay £2,000 Scots for 
their maintenance. ' It appears,' says Sir Walter Scott, ' that the 
laird of Makerston, his brother-in-law, joined with Raeburn's own 
brother Harden in this singular persecution. It was observed 
by the people that the male line of the second Sir William of Har- 
den became extinct in 17 10, and that the representation of Maker- 
ston soon passed into the female line. They assigned, as a cause, 
that when the wife of Raeburn found herself deprived of her 
husband, and refused permission even to see her children, she 
pronounced a malediction on her husband's brother and her own, and 
prayed that a male of their body might not inherit their property.' 

Raeburn's eldest son, William, at the age of twenty-four, fell in 
a duel with Pringle of Crichton, which was fought with swords, near 
Selkirk, in 1707. The second son, Walter, received a good 
education at the University of Glasgow. He was a zealous Jacobite, 
and was called ' Beardie,' from a vow which he had made never to 
shave his beard till the exiled royal family were restored. Sir 
Walter Scott says of him ' that it would have been well if his zeal for 
the banished dynasty of Stewart had stopped with his letting his 
beard grow. But he took arms, and intrigued in their cause, until 
he lost all he had in the world, and, as I have heard, ran a narrow 
risk of being hanged, had it not been for the interference of Anne, 
Duchess of Buccleuch and Monmouth.' 

In the introduction to the sixth canto of ' Marmion,' Sir Walter 
describes his * great-grandsire ' — 

' With amber beard, and flaxen hair, 
And reverend apostolic air,' 

as having been loyal, to his cost : — 

' The banished race of Kings revived, 
And lost his land — but kept his beard.' 

Robert Scott, Beardie' s second son, was Sir Walter Scott's grand- 

The Scotts of Thirlstane are represented in the male line by 
Lord Napier of Ettrick. 


IEPBURN is the name of an old and powerful family located 
on the Eastern Marches, and noted throughout the whole 
history of Scotland for their turbulence, and, not un- 
frequently, for their disloyalty. Their designation is said 
to have been derived from a place called Hepborne, or Hayborn, in 
Northumberland, from which Adam Hepburn, the founder of the 
family, came, in the reign of David II. He is said to have received 
grants of various lands in East Lothian from the Earl of March, the 
descendant of the Northumbrian Prince Cospatrick, and the head 
of the great family of Dunbar. The lands of North Hailes and 
Traprane were conferred upon him by Robert Bruce, which shows 
that he must have fought on the patriotic side in the War of Inde- 
pendence. His eldest son, Sir Patrick Hepburn of Hailes, 
distinguished himself by his bravery at the battle of Otterburn 
(1388), in which his son Patrick, styled by Fordun, ' Miles magnani- 
mus, et athleta bellicosus,' also took part. In 1402, in the lifetime 
of his father, the younger Hepburn commanded a body of Borderers 
who made a hostile incursion into England, but were intercepted on 
their return by the Earl of Northumberland and the Earl of March, 
who had turned traitor to his king and country, and, after a stub- 
born conflict, the Scots were defeated, and Hepburn and other East 
Lothian barons were among the slain. His eldest son, Sir Adam 
Hepburn, took a prominent part in public affairs, and when the 
estates of the Dunbar and March family were forfeited, in 1435, he 
was made constable of the important fortress of Dunbar. In the 
following year he was present at the battle of Piperden, in which the 
Earl of Angus defeated the Earl of Northumberland, and took Sir 
Robert Ogle prisoner, with most of his followers. Sir Adam's eldest 
son, Sir Patrick Hepburn, was created a peer of Parliament in 

248 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

1456, by the title of Lord Hales. His son Adam, the second Lord, 
who married the eldest daughter of the first Lord Home, was by no 
means a pattern of loyalty and obedience to the law ; and, in alliance 
with his kinsmen, the Homes, took his share in the broils and 
feuds which disturbed the peace of the country in the unfortunate 
reign of James III. The minor branches of the Hepburn family had 
by this time spread themselves through East Lothian and Berwick- 
shire, and some of them, such as the Hepburns of Waughton * and 
Whitsome, had become powerful. George, the third son of the 
second Lord Hales, was Provost of Bothwell and Lincluden, Abbot 
of Aberbrothock, High Treasurer of Scotland in 1509, and, in the 
following year, Commendator both of Aberbrothock and Icolmkill. 
He fell, along with the Archbishop of St. Andrews, and several other 
ecclesiastical dignitaries, at the battle of Flodden, in 15 13. John, 
the fourth son of Lord Hales, was Prior of St. Andrews, and the 
founder, in 15 12, of St. Leonard's College in that ancient city. The 
fifth son, James, was first rector of Dairy and Parton ; then, in 15 15, 
he was elected Abbot of Dunfermline. In the same year he was 
appointed Lord High Treasurer, and, in 1516, he was elected Bishop 
of Moray. The fact that so many important offices were conferred 
upon his younger sons is conclusive evidence of the great influence 
to which the head of the Hepburn family had now attained. 

Patrick Hepburn, third Lord Hales and first Earl of Bothwell, 
raised the family to a position in the foremost rank of the great 
barons of Scotland. He had the command of the castle of Berwick 
in 1482, and, after the town had surrendered, he held out the fortress 
with great bravery against a powerful English army, commanded 
by the Duke of Gloucester (afterwards Richard III.), and the Duke 
of Albany, King James's brother. Lord Hales was one of the leaders 
in the rebellion against that unfortunate monarch, which was caused 
to some extent by his annexation, to the chapel royal of Stirling, of 
the rich temporalities of the priory of Coldingham, which the Homes 
had come to regard as virtually belonging to their family. The 
selfish and unpatriotic disaffected nobles entered into negotiations 
with Henry VII. of England to betray their country in order to 

* Sir John Hepburn, the famous soldier, belonged to the Hepburns of Athelstane- 
ford, a branch of the Waughton family. He fought with great distinction under 
Gustavus Adolphus, and afterwards entered the French service, in which he attained 
the rank of field-marshal. He was killed at the siege of Saverne, 21st June.. 1636. 

The Hepburns. 249 

promote their own interests, and obtained for that purpose a safe- 
conduct to England ; but the dissensions between them and the 
King - came so rapidly to a crisis that no use was made of it. 

Lord Hales commanded the vanguard of the rebel forces at the 
battle of Sauchieburn (June 11, 1488), in which King James lost his 
life. On the surrender of the castle of Edinburgh a few days after 
this conflict, the custody of that important fortress was committed to 
Lord Hales, with three hundred merks of the customs of that city. 
As the government of the country was entirely in the hands of the 
victorious party, honours, offices, and estates were showered upon 
the person who had contributed so largely to their success. He 
was appointed Sheriff- Principal of the county of Edinburgh, Master 
of the Household, and High Admiral of Scotland for life. He 
obtained a charter of the lands of Crichton Castle and other estates 
in the counties of Edinburgh and Dumfries, along with the lordship 
of Bothwell, in Lanarkshire, of which Sir John Ramsay, a favourite 
of the late King, had been deprived. He was also created (17th 
October, 1488) Earl of Bothwell, a title which had been borne by 
Ramsay. Shortly after he obtained a grant of the office of Steward 
of Kirkcudbright, and of the custody of Thrieve Castle, the strong- 
hold of the Black Douglases, with its feus. On the 29th of May 
of the following year, his covetousness being still unsatiated, the 
Earl and his uncle, John Hepburn, Prior of St. Andrews, received a 
lease of the lordship of Orkney and Shetland, and were made 
custodians of the castle of Stirling. A few weeks later he was 
appointed Warden of the West and Middle Marches. On the 
slaughter of Spens of Kilspindie, by Archibald Bell-the-Cat, Earl of 
Angus, the King compelled Angus, before he would pardon him for 
this crime, to exchange the lordship of Liddesdale and the castle of 
Hermitage for the barony and castle of Bothwell, which was a 
considerable diminution to the greatness and power of the Doug- 
lases, and added not a little to the influence and importance of the 
Hepburn family. 

Lord Hales was repeatedly appointed ambassador to the courts of 
France, Spain, and England in connection with the negotiations for 
the marriage of the young King ; and when all arrangements were at 
length concluded, and the Princess Margaret, eldest daughter of 
Henry VII. , was married by proxy to James IV. , at Richmond (January 
27th, 1503), the Earl of Bothwell officiated as the representative of 
the King. He was honoured also to bear the sword of state before 

250 The Great Historic Families of Scotla?id. 

his Majesty when he received his young queen, and escorted her into 
the capital. The Earl died about 1507. Of his three sons by Lady 
Janet Douglas, only daughter of the first Earl of Morton, he was 
succeeded by Adam, the eldest. John, the second, became Bishop 
of Brechin in 1 5 1 7 ; and Patrick, the third, succeeded his uncle as 
Prior of St. Andrews. He held for three years (1524 — 27) the office 
of Secretary of State, and, in 1535, was consecrated Bishop of 
Moray, and was allowed to hold in commendam the abbacy of Scone. 
He was one of those prelates whose licentious conduct brought 
great discredit on their sacred office, and contributed largely to the 
downfall of the Romish system in Scotland. He had no fewer than 
nine natural children — seven sons and two daughters — who were 
legitimatised under the Great Seal in 1533, 1545, and 1550. When 
he saw the Reformation at hand, he made liberal provision for 
them by feuing out all the lands belonging to the see. 

Adam Hepburn, second Earl of Bothwell, succeeded his father in 
his office of High Admiral, as well as in his titles and extensive 
estates, but did not long enjoy them. He commanded the reserve, 
consisting of the men of Lothian, at the fatal battle of Flodden, 
where he fell along with many of his kinsmen, and the chivalry of the 
Borders. When the result of the fight was still in doubt, the Earl 
advanced to the support of his sovereign, and attacked the enemy 
with such vigour as to put the standard of the Earl of Surrey in 
imminent danger. An ancient English poet describes Bothwell as 
having distinguished himself by his furious attempt to retrieve the 
fortunes of the day. 

' Then on the Scottish part, right proud 

The Earl of Bothwell then outbrast, 
And, stepping forth with stomach good, 

Into the enemies' throng he thrast; 
And Bothwell/ Bothwell! cried bold, 

To cause his soldiers to ensue ; 
But there he caught a welcome cold, 

The Englishmen straight down him threw. 
Thus Haburn through his hardy heart 

His fatal force in conflict found.' 

Earl Adam left one son, by a natural daughter of the Earl of Buchan, 
brother-uterine of James II. 

Patrick, third Earl of Bothwell, was an infant only a few months 
old at the time of his father's death. Brought up among a turbu- 

The He pb urns. 251 

lent nobility, during the unsettled state of the country in the 
minority of James V., it need excite no surprise that at an early age 
he was involved in the feuds that prevailed in the Marches. In 1528, 
when he was in the sixteenth year of his age, a remission was granted 
to him and a number of his kinsmen by the Duke of Albany, the 
Regent, for treasonably assisting Lord Home, Home of Wedderburn, 
and their retainers, who were at that time proclaimed rebels to the 
sovereign. A few months later he was committed to prison by the 
King for protecting the Border freebooters. After six months' con- 
finement, he was released, on security being given by his friends to 
the amount of twenty thousand pounds. We next find him, in 
December, 1531, paying a secret visit to England, and holding 
a treasonable conference with the Earl of Northumberland, who wrote 
of him to King Henry in high terms, describing him as ' of person- 
age, wit, learning, and manners, of his years as toward and as goodly 
a gentleman as I ever saw in my life, and to my simple understanding 
he is very meet to serve your Highness in any thing that shall be 
your most gracious pleasure to command him withal.' His intrigues, 
however, were discovered, and on his return to Scotland he was 
apprehended by the orders of the King and confined in the castle of 
Edinburgh, where he seems to have remained for a considerable 
time. Liddesdale, where a large portion of Both well's estates lay, had 
long been the headquarters of the Border freebooters, who were 
harboured and protected by the nobles to serve their own purposes. 
King James saw clearly that it would be impossible to maintain peace 
in that lawless district until it was placed under royal authority. He 
therefore, in September, 1538, compelled the Earl of Bothwell to 
resign his lordship to the Crown. It would appear that the Earl was 
at the same time banished the kingdom, and he is said to have taken 
up his residence at Venice. In 1542 he was in England, and, like 
not a few of his unprincipled and unpatriotic class at that time, he 
engaged in treasonable negotiations with Henry VIII., and it was no 
doubt owing to the discovery of his treason that the barony of Both- 
well and his other estates were annexed to the Crown. 

The Earl returned to Scotland after the death of King James (13th 
December, 1542), and immediately became one of the prominent 
supporters of Cardinal Beaton and the Roman Catholic party in the 
kingdom. He, and the other Popish nobles, demanded that the 
Cardinal should be set at liberty by the Governor, Arran, and that the 
ordinance allowing the New Testament to be read in the vulgar tongue 

252 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

by the people should be rescinded. These demands were refused, 
and the faction having- been charged on pain of treason to return to 
their allegiance, durst not disobey, but gave in their adherence to the 
Governor. Bothwell, at the meeting of the Estates in 1543, issued a 
summons of reduction of the deed of resignation of the lordship of 
Liddesdale and castle of Hermitage, and succeeded in obtaining the 
restitution of his estates. Sir Ralph Sadler, who found the Earl in 
possession of Liddesdale when he visited Scotland in 1543, to negotiate 
a marriage between the infant Queen Mary and Prince Edward of 
England, says, ' As to the Earl of Bothwell, who hath the rule of 
Liddesdale, I think him the most vain and insolent man in the world, 
full of pride and folly, and here nothing at all esteemed.' Bothwell 
was prominent and active in all the intrigues and movements of the 
Roman Catholic party at this juncture, for the purpose of prevent- 
ing the alliance with England, and in supporting the claims of the 
Queen-mother, Mary of Guise, to the regency, in the room of Arran. 
He was the rival of the Earl of Lennox in a suit for her hand, and 
competed with him in his efforts to gain her favour by the magnifi- 
cence of his apparel and his skill in the exercises of chivalry. He is 
described by Pittscottie as at this time ' fair and whitely, something 
hanging shouldered, and went something forward, with gentle and 
humane countenance.' 

Bothwell allowed himself to be made the tool of Cardinal Beaton 
in delivering into his hands George Wishart, the martyr, in January, 
1546. The Cardinal's influence had now become paramount in the 
country, and Wishart, knowing well the inveteracy of the Romish 
priests against him, was aware that he was in imminent danger. At 
Haddington he could not obtain an audience even of a hundred, for 
' the Earl of Bothwell, who had great credit and obedience, by pro- 
curement of Cardinal Beaton, had given inhibition to both town and 
country that they should in no wise give an ear to the heretical doc- 
trine, under the pain of his displeasure.' On leaving Haddington, 
Wishart refused to allow John Knox to accompany him, bidding him 
return to his pupils, for one was enough at this time for a sacrifice. 
He was spending the night at Ormiston, the seat of Cockburn, a 
zealous member of the Reforming party. At midnight the house 
was surrounded by a body of armed men, under the Earl of Bothwell, 
who summoned the inmates to deliver up Wishart, pledging his 
honour at the same time for the safety of his person, and confirming 
this assurance by an oath. Resistance was hopeless, and Wishart at 

The Hepbuvns. 253 

once exclaimed, ' Open the gates ; the blessed will of my Lord be 
done.' He was immediately seized, mounted on horseback, and con- 
veyed to Elphinstone Tower, only a mile distant, where Cardinal 
Beaton was then residing - , Both well all the time assuring- him that his 
life and person would be perfectly safe, and that he would either pro- 
cure him a fair trial, or set him at liberty. From Elphinstone Tower 
Wishart was conveyed to Edinburgh, and thence to Both well's house 
at Hailes. It is alleged that Bothwell wished to protect his prisoner 
from injury, but that the Cardinal and the Queen-Dowager induced 
him to violate his pledge, and to deliver Wishart up to Beaton, who 
transferred him to St. Andrews, and speedily brought him to the 
stake. There is no reason to believe that Bothwell ever repented of 
his breach of faith, and complicity in this foul deed, but it was pleaded 
for him that he only yielded to the authority of the Governor and 
Council, before whom he was brought on the 19th of January, 1546, 
and commanded, under the highest penalties, to deliver up his 
prisoner. There is no reason to doubt that this order was issued 
merely for the purpose of affording Bothwell an excuse for his viola- 
tion of his solemn promise. 

Notwithstanding his ready compliance with the wishes of the 
Cardinal, Bothwell was soon after again committed to prison, in all 
probability in consequence of his intrigues with England, and did 
not obtain his release until after the battle of Pinkie, 10th September, 
1547. He immediately waited upon the Duke of Somerset, the 
commander of the invading army, and there can be little doubt that 
he then gave in his adherence to the English cause. He is described 
as ' a gentleman of a right comely porte and stature, and heretofore 
of right honourable and just meaning and dealing towards the King's 
Majesty (Henry VIII.), whom therefore, my Lord's Grace did accord- 
ing to his degree and merits very friendly welcome and maintain.' 
There was good reason why the Earl received a cordial welcome 
from the ruthless English invaders, for it has been ascertained that 
he had gone over wholly to their side. An instrument, dated at 
Westminster, 3rd September, 1549, sets forth that King Edward had 
taken the Earl of Bothwell under his protection and favour, granting 
him a yearly rent of three thousand crowns, and the wages of a hundred 
horsemen for the defence of his person, and the annoyance of the 
enemy; and, if he should lose his lands in Scotland in the English 
King's service for the space of three years, promising to give him 
lands of equal value in England. There are good grounds for believing 

254 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

that the traitorous noble spent the remainder of his life in exile, and 
that he died in 1556. He left a son, who succeeded him in the family- 
title and estates, and a daughter. The latter became the wife of 
John Stewart, Prior of Coldingham, a natural son of James V., 
to whom she bore Francis Stewart, the turbulent Earl of Bothwell 
who so often disturbed the peace of the country during the reign of 
James VI. 

James Hepburn, fourth Earl of Bothwell, whose foul crimes 
have stamped his memory with infamy, was born about the year 
1536. His early years were spent in the castle of Spynie, near Elgin, 
with his granduncle, Patrick Hepburn, Bishop of Moray, a prelate 
who was conspicuous, even at that immoral period, for the neglect of 
the duties of his office, and his gross licentiousness. James Hep- 
burn was only in his nineteenth or twentieth year when his father 
died, and he succeeded him not only in the family titles and estates, 
including the strong fortresses of Bothwell, Crichton and Hailes, but 
also in his hereditary offices of Lord High Admiral of Scotland, 
Sheriff of the counties of Berwick, Haddington, and Midlothian, and 
Bailiff of Lauderdale. He was thus the most powerful nobleman in 
the south of Scotland. This ' glorious, rash, and hazardous young 
man,' as he is styled by Walsingham, was, from his youth upwards, 
the cause of strife and discord in the country, and of trouble to the 
public authorities. Though he professed to be a Protestant, he 
espoused the cause of the Queen Regent against the Lords of the 
Congregation, and showed himself utterly unscrupulous in the means 
he adopted to promote her interests. In 1558, though little more 
than of age, he was appointed by her Lieutenant-General of the 
Middle Marches, and keeper of Hermitage Castle, which added 
largely to his already overgrown power. In October, 1559, having 
learned that Cockburn of Ormiston had received four thousand 
crowns from Sir Ralph Sadler, for the use of the Protestant party, 
Bothwell waylaid and wounded him, and robbed him of the money. 
On receiving intelligence of this gross outrage, the Earl of Arran, 
the Governor, and Lord James Stewart (afterwards Regent Moray) 
immediately went to Bothwell' s house in Haddington, with a body 
of soldiers, to apprehend the depredator; but, a few minutes before 
they reached the place, he received intelligence of their approach and 
fled down the bed of the river Tyne, which is closely adjoining, and 
took refuge in the house of Cockburn of Sandybed. Entering by 

The Hepburns. 255 

the back door, which opened to the river, he changed clothes with 
the turnspit and performed the duties of that menial. In return for 
the protection afforded him in this extremity, Bothwell gave to 
Cockburn and his heirs a perpetual ground annual of four bolls of 
wheat, four bolls of barley, and four bolls of oats, to be paid yearly 
out of the lands of Mainshill, near Haddington. These quantities of 
grain continued to be paid to Cockburn's heirs till the year 1760, 
when his estate was sold by his descendant to Mr. Buchan of Lethem ; 
and he shortly after disposed of the ground annual to the Earl of 
Wemyss, who was then proprietor of Mainshill. 

Bothwell was one of the nobles who waited upon Queen Mary in 
France, in the year 1561, and must, even at that time, have been a 
person of some political importance, for, on his departure from France, 
Throckmorton wrote to Queen Elizabeth : ' The said Earl is departed 
suddenly from this realm to return to Scotland by Flanders, and hath 
made boast that he will do great things, and live in Scotland in 
despite of all men. He is glorious, boastful, rash, and hazardous, 
and therefore it were meet that his adversaries should both give an 
eye to him, and keep him short.' Darker traits speedily showed 
themselves in Bothwell' s character. He became restless and turbu- 
lent, and made violent attacks on other barons, hatched conspiracies 
against the Government, and was at length imprisoned, and then 
banished the kingdom, for a conspiracy against the Earl of Moray. 
He was allowed to return home in 1565 ; but, on May 2nd of that 
year, he was proclaimed a rebel and put to the horn for not appear- 
ing to answer for an accusation of high treason, in conspiring to 
seize the person of the young Queen. He was charged with having 
proposed to the Earl of Arran to carry her off to the castle of 
Dumbarton, ' and thair keep her surelie, or otherwyse demayne hir 
person at your plesour, quhill sche aggre to quhatsumevir thing yo 
shall desyre.' It thus appears that Bothwell's abduction of the 
Queen at Cramond Bridge, in 1567, was no new project. 

The private life of the young noble was as profligate as his public 
conduct was treasonable and violent. The Earl of Bedford wrote of 
him to Cecil, ' I assure you Bothwell is as naughty a man as liveth,' 
and accused him of crimes of which ' it is a shame even to speak.' 
There were scandalous reports widely spread respecting his con- 
nection with a certain Lady Reres, and her sister Janet Beaton, both 
disreputably associated at a later period with Queen Mary and him. 

It has quite recently been discovered by Professor Schiern of 

256 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

Copenhagen,* that during Bothwell's exile on the Continent he had 
formed a connection with Anna, a daughter of Christopher Thron- 
desson, a Norwegian nobleman, and one of the admirals of 
Christian III. This lady complained that Bothwell ' had taken her 
from her father's land and paternal home, and led her into a foreign 
country away from her parents, and would not hold her as his lawful 
wife, which he with hand, and mouth, and letters, had promised both 
them and her to do.' It appears that the young lady accompanied 
Bothwell from Denmark to the Netherlands, but was there aban- 
doned by her villainous betrayer, and reduced to such straits that she 
was obliged to dispose of her jewels. She seems afterwards to have 
made her way to Scotland, where she resided for some time, and to 
have finally returned in the year 1563 to her own country, where the 
Earl, in after years, and in very strange circumstances, once more 
encountered his deserted wife. 

When Queen Mary and her brother, the Earl of Moray, quarrelled 
in consequence of her marriage with Darnley, and Moray was 
driven out of the kingdom and compelled to take refuge in England, 
Bothwell, ' the enemy of all honest men,' as he was justly termed, 
was recalled from his exile, and received into favour. He was 
shortly after appointed Warden of the Three Marches, an office 
never before held by one person, was restored to his office of High 
Admiral, and received grants of the abbeys of Haddington and 
Melrose, and of extensive Crown lands. His influence at Court 
speedily became paramount, and all favours and preferments passed 
through his hands. In the autumn of 1566 he was commissioned 
to suppress some disturbances which had arisen among the free- 
booters in Liddesdale, and was severely wounded (7th October) in 
an encounter with one of them named Elliot of Park. The Queen, 
who was then holding a justice court at Jedburgh, on hearing of 
Bothwell's wound, rode to Hermitage Castle, where he lay — a 
distance of twenty miles, through an almost impassable district — and 
returned on the same day. Her rapid journey, fatigue, and anxiety 
threw her into a fever, which nearly cost her her life. 

It is not possible to point out the precise period at which Bothwell's 
plot for the murder of Mary's husband had its origin ; but, in all 
probability, it must have been shortly after the Queen left Jedburgh 
(7th November) for Coldingham, Dunbar, and Tantailan, accom- 

* Life of James Hepburn, Earl of Bothwell. By Frederick Schiern, Professor of 
History in the University of Copenhagen. 

The Hepbums. 257 

panied by the Earl. It is certain that the ' band ' for the murder of 
Darnley was signed by Bothwell and his associates in the month of 
December following. This flagitious plot was carried into effect on 
the gth of February, 1567. The whole circumstances connected 
with the deed were, of course, not known at the moment ; but no 
doubt was entertained that Bothwell was the murderer of the ill- 
fated prince. He was denounced by name in public placards, and 
vengeance was loudly demanded on him and his accomplices; but, 
notwithstanding, he continued as much as ever in favour with the 
Queen, and was for some time the only one of her nobles who had 
access to her presence. On the 21st of February he accompanied 
her to Seton Castle, where they remained until the 10th of March, 
when they returned to Holyrood. On the 19th of March, Mary 
conferred upon Bothwell the command of Edinburgh Castle, along 
with other marks of her favour. On the 24th of the same month he 
again accompanied the Queen to Seton, and stayed with her till the 
10th of April. His mock trial for the murder of Darnley, and 
acquittal, his obtaining from the leading nobility a bond recom- 
mending him as a suitable husband for the Queen, his divorce from 
his Countess, Lady Jean Gordon ;* his elevation to the rank of 
Duke of Orkney and Shetland ; his collusive seizure of the person 
of the Queen ; his marriage to Mary amid mingled horror and indig- 
nation on the part of the people, followed by his coarse and brutal 
treatment of the ill-fated princess ; the confederacy of the nobles for 
the protection of her infant son against the machinations of this bold, 
bad man ; his flight along with Mary to Dunbar ; his march to 
Carberry Hill to meet the confederate barons, and his final separa- 

* The marriage between Bothwell and Lady Jean Gordon was dissolved by the 
Consistorial Court of St. Andrews, presided over by Hamilton, the Primate of the 
Roman Catholic Church, on the plea that they were related within the prohibited 
degrees, and that they had married without a papal dispensation. But a dispensation 
had in reality been obtained, as was confidently asserted at the time. That document 
was issued on the 17th of February, 1566, only fifteen months before the marriage of 
Mary and Bothwell, by the prelate who declared the prior marriage null and void, with 
the authority of Legate a latere. It is undeniable, therefore, that according to the law 
of the Romish church, Mary was never really married to Bothwell. When it is taken 
into account that the Queen was the most intimate friend of Lady Jean Gordon, that 
she took a special and personal superintendence of the arrangements for her marriage, 
that hers is the first signature to the marriage contract, that she made a gift to the 
bride of her marriage dress, and that she and Darnley were at the expense of the first 
day's feast on the occasion of the wedding, it is difficult to believe that Mary was 
ignorant of the fact that a dispensation had been granted. The advocates of the 
Queen have always denied that this could have been the case, but the document was 
recently found by Dr. Stuart in the charter-chest at Dunrobin. 


258 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

tion there from the Queen, succeeded each other with startling 
rapidity. Bothwell's subsequent career has hitherto been but 
imperfectly known, and various conflicting but erroneous accounts 
have been given of the closing years of his flagitious and miserable 
life. The laborious researches of Professor Schiern have at length 
brought the whole circumstances to light. 

It appears that on leaving Dunbar, to which he fled from Carberry 
Hill, Both well had only two small vessels with him, but on reaching 
Shetland he persuaded two Bremen merchants, who happened to be 
there at that time, to give him the command of two of their ships, along 
with the crews, on condition that he was to pay them a certain sum 
as long as he retained their ships in his service, and compensation if 
they were lost or not returned. His four vessels were lying at anchor 
in Bressay Sound, and part of their crews, along with Bothwell him- 
self, had gone on shore, when four Scottish ships, commanded by 
Kirkcaldy of Grange and Murray of Tullibardine, who had been sent 
in pursuit of the murderer of Darnley, hove in sight. Bothwell's 
men, on the approach of their enemies, cut their cables and took to 
flight. It has hitherto been supposed that Bothwell was on board 
one of these vessels, and that he escaped capture only by the accident 
that the Unicorn^ Kirkcaldy's ship, struck upon a rock, and went 
down, just as it was on the point of overtaking his vessel. Professor 
Schiern has, however, shown that Bothwell made his escape unob- 
served across Yell Sound and the island of Yell, and was taken on 
board one of his ships at Unst. Shortly after, his pursuers came up 
with him, and a battle ensued which lasted for several hours. One of 
the Earl's ships had its mainmast carried away by a cannon-shot, and 
Bothwell owed his escape to an opportune gale, which separated the 
combatants, and drove the ship which carried him, and one of its 
comrades, far out on the North Sea. He succeeded, however, in 
reaching the south- wes: coast of Norway, but he had scarcely cast 
anchor in the Sound of Kharm, when the Danish warship, Bjornen, 
appeared, the captain of which, Christian Aalborg, demanded to see 
the ship's papers ; but none could be produced, Bothwell alleging 
that ' he whose duty it was to issue such papers in Scotland was now 
in close confinement.' Captain Aalborg, finding, as he said, these 
two ' Scottish Pinker, without any passport, safe-conduct, or commis- 
sions, which honest seafaring people commonly use, and are in duty 
bound to have,' determined to carry them to Bergen. By a dexterous 
stratagem he contrived to get a portion of Bothwell's men on board 

The Hepburns. 259 

his own ship, and another portion on shore, and thus rendered resis- 
tance hopeless. Bothwell on this made himself known to the Danish 
Admiral, who had some difficulty in believing that the man whom he 
saw, ' attired in old torn coarse boatswain's clothes, was the highest 
of the rulers in all Scotland.' 

In spite of his remonstrances, the Earl was conveyed to Bergen 
Castle, where he was hospitably entertained by the commandant, 
but, to his surprise and dismay, had a prosecution immediately 
raised against him by Anna Throndesson, the lady whom he had 
so basely deserted in the Netherlands, but who was now resident 
in the neighbourhood of Bergen. On hearing of Bothwell's arrival, 
she at once seized the opportunity of seeking redress for her 
wrongs. She summoned the Earl before the Court, and read in 
his presence the letters in which he had promised to marry her, 
1 Lady Anna being of opinion that this promise had been of no 
weight in his eyes, since he had three wives alive — first, herself; 
another in Scotland, from whom he had procured his freedom ; and 
the last, Queen Mary.' Bothwell, in the end, succeeded in getting 
this prosecution quashed by promising the injured lady an annuity to 
be sent from Scotland, and handing over to her the smallest of his two 
ships. He was peremptorily refused permission, however, to leave 
the country ; and the discovery of a letter-case with papers, which he 
had concealed in the ballast of his ship — among which was the patent 
creating him Duke of Orkney, a letter from Queen Mary, ' in which 
she bewailed herself and all her friends,' and ' divers letters both in 
print and writing,' in which the Scottish Council accused him of the 
murder of the King, and offered a reward for his apprehension — 
made it clear that ' he had for no good reason withdrawn from his 
native country.' The cautious governor, with the advice of certain 
freemen and councillors, on this discovery resolved to send Bothwell, 
along with these compromising documents, to Copenhagen. He 
reached the Danish capital about the close of the autumn of 1567. 
The King of Denmark, Frederick II., was absent in North Jutland at 
the time of Bothwell's arrival, and he delayed coming to any decision 
regarding his disposal till he himself, at the end of the year, returned 
to Zealand. The Earl was speedily recognised by some Scottish 
merchants at Copenhagen, and intelligence conveyed to the Govern- 
ment respecting his place of refuge. 

On the 15th December, Sir William Stewart, the Scottish herald, 
appeared at the Danish Court, and delivered to Frederick a formal 

260 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

demand from the Regent Moray for the surrender of Darnley's 
murderer. In this emergency the Earl proved himself, as Peter Oxe, 
the High Steward, and John Frus, one of the Danish councillors, 
described him, in a document which still exists, ' very cunning and 
inventive.' He affirmed that he had come to Denmark to 'declare 
the cause of the Queen of Scotland, his royal Majesty's kinswoman, 
and to desire his Majesty's good counsel and assistance for her 
deliverance, as from the lord and prince on whom, both on account 
of kinship and descent, as also on account of the ancient alliance 
which has been between both kingdoms from time immemorial, she 
altogether relies.' He pleaded that 'he had already in Scotland 
been legally acquitted of this charge, that he was himself the real 
regent of Scotland, that the Queen was his consort, and that his 
opponents were only rebels.' He addressed letters to Charles IX. of 
France, declaring that he had left Scotland ' to lay before the Danish 
king the wrongs to which his near relative, the Queen of Scotland, 
had become a victim,' and entreated the French king ' favourably to 
take into account the goodwill with which through his whole life he 
had striven, and would further strive, to be of service to him.' He 
also solicited, and, it would appear succeeded, in securing the inter- 
position in his behalf of Charles Dancay, the French ambassador 
at the Court of Denmark. In the end, Frederick declined to 
surrender Bothwell, but offered permission to the Scottish envoy 
himself to prosecute the Earl in Denmark, for the crimes laid to his 
charge — a course, however, which Sir William Stewart did not think 
it expedient at that time to adopt. Meanwhile, orders were given 
by the King that Bothwell should be removed from Copenhagen to 
the castle of Malmoe, where he was confined in a large oblong 
vaulted hall, strongly secured with iron-barred windows, which still 
exist. During his residence in the castle of Copenhagen Bothwell 
composed a detailed memoir of the transactions in Scotland that had 
led to the dethronement of the Queen and his own banishment, which 
is throughout a tissue of the most extraordinary falsehoods, denying 
all participation on his own part in the murder of Darnley, and 
ascribing that deed to Moray and the other Protestant lords. 

The seizure of the Queen at Almond Bridge, and her abduction 
to Dunbar, along with other important incidents, are passed over 
unnoticed in this narrative, the object of which was to convince the 
King and Council that the Regent Moray and his associates were 
alone the special instruments and sources of the disturbances that 

The Hepburns. 261 

had taken place in Scotland from the year 1559 down to that time, 
and to induce them to give help by land and sea for the deliverance 
of the Scottish Queen. A few days after his transference to the castle 
of Malmoe, Bothwell drew up another paper, in which he not only 
entreated assistance, but with his characteristic ' cunning and inven- 
tiveness,' declared that he was empowered to offer to make over to 
the King, in return for his help, the Orkney and Shetland Islands, and, 
' if the King and Council would themselves state how they wished 
bonds to be drawn up with respect to the surrender of these islands, 
the Earl became surety that they would be so drawn and sealed by 
the Queen, by himself, and by the Scottish Privy Council,' in accord- 
ance with 'their intention and final will.' This was a very dexterous 
proposal, for Frederick, like his father, Christian III., had striven in 
vain to recover these islands from the Scottish Government, and 
Christian had even threatened to enforce his claims upon them by a 
great naval armament. There is every reason to believe that this 
most welcome offer contributed not a little to the lenity with which 
Bothwell was for a good many years treated by the Danish Govern- 
ment. In vain did Moray renew his demand for the Earl's extradi- 
tion ; equally in vain did Elizabeth, as the relative of Darnley, 
support the Regent's demand, and plead that it was a matter which 
concerned every monarch, ' whose majesty ought always to be sacred, 
and never violated without punishment.' Supported by the French 
king and his ambassador, Frederick obstinately refused to surrender 
the Scottish refugee. 

The Regent, however, was not to be turned from his purpose, 
and he employed a Captain John Clark, an officer in the service of 
the King of Denmark, and in high favour with Frederick, to 
support his request for Bothwell's extradition. Clark had been 
employed to enlist mercenary troops in Scotland for the Danish 
king, and had been present with his men at Carberry Hill on 
the side of the Lords. It was he who captured Captain Blacater, 
one of Bothwell's accomplices, the first of them that was executed 
for the murder of Darnley. Clark set himself with great zeal to 
support the request of the Scottish Government that the Earl should 
be given up to be tried in Scotland, or that he should be executed in 
Denmark ; but his efforts were all in vain. He obtained, however, 
the surrender of two of Bothwell's accomplices in the murder : Wil- 
liam Murray, and Nicolas Hubert the Frenchman, usually called 
Paris, whose confessions proved highly injurious to the Scottish 

262 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

Queen, though their genuineness and veracity have been impeached 
by her defenders. A document brought to light by Professor Schiern, 
dated October 30th, 1568, has settled the disputed point of time 
when Paris was surrendered to Captain Clark ; but the problem is 
still unsolved what was done with him during the long period which 
elapsed before his landing at Leith, in the middle of June in the fol- 
lowing year. There is a curious episode introduced by the Professor 
respecting Captain Clark himself, who shortly after fell under the 
displeasure of Frederick. Bothwell and his associates seem to have 
furnished evidence respecting certain charges brought against the 
unfortunate soldier, one of which was that he had employed the 
mercenaries whom he had enlisted for the service of the Danish King, 
against the Queen of Scotland. He was tried by a court-martial 
and found guilty, and ended his days in the prison in which Bothwell 
himself was ultimately confined. 

After the assassination of Regent Moray, Lennox, his successor, 
the father of Darnley, made another and still more urgent demand 
for the surrender of the murderer of his son, and despatched Thomas 
Buchanan, a relative of the celebrated George Buchanan, as his 
ambassador to press his request that the Earl should be either given 
up to the Scottish Government, or punished in Denmark. But 
though the arguments which Buchanan employed were both inge- 
nious and forcible, he, too, failed of success. He discovered, how- 
ever, that Bothwell, when in Malmoe, had received letters from 
Mary, and that through some channel or other he still kept up a 
correspondence with her, though she was now a prisoner in England. 
Up to this time the Earl had been subjected to what is known as 
* an honourable imprisonment,' and the King had given orders to his 
High Steward to procure velvet and silk stuff for his apparel. But 
after the accession of Morton to the Regency, and the complete 
overthrow of Mary's party in Scotland, Bothwell received very 
different treatment. ' The King of Denmark,' wrote the French 
ambassador to his master (28th June, 1573), 'has hitherto treated 
the Earl of Bothwell very well, but a few days ago he put him in a 
worse and closer prison.' The prison, it appears, was in the old 
castle of Dragsholm, in Zealand, where the Earl spent the closing 
years of his wretched existence. Professor Schiern says that tradi- 
tion still points out, in the part of the prison called Bothwell' s cell, 
two iron bars in the wall to which the Earl's fetters are said to have 
been so fastened that he could move round with them. It is stated 

The Hcpburns. 263 

in the memoirs of Lord Herries, that 'none had access unto him, 
but onlie those who carried him such scurvie meat and drink as was 
allowed, which was given in at a little window.' In this ' loathsome 
prison ' Bothwell dragged out a miserable existence for five years. 
According to unvarying tradition, he became insane before his death, 
which took place in 1578. The adjoining church of Faareville, 
which stands in ' a lonely and quiet spot on the west bay of Fsefjord, 
the haunt of gulls and seafowl,' is said to be ' the last resting-place 
of him who once was the husband of Scotland's Queen.' 

Professor Schiern has devoted a considerable space to a discussion 
of the authenticity of Bothwell' s ' Testament,' in which he is said 
shortly before his death to have declared that the Queen of Scots was 
innocent of all complicity in the murder of her husband, and confessed 
that he was the originator and perpetrator of that crime, with the 
approval of Moray, Morton, and the other Protestant lords ; at the 
same time accusing himself of other gross crimes of which the people 
of Scotland could never have heard. The author has shown that if 
any such declaration was ever made it must have been emitted a 
number of years before Bothwell's death, and that the published 
extracts alleged to have been made from the document were in 
all probability forgeries. He lays great stress on the fact that 
James VI., who, while yet a child, had been greatly moved when the 
abstract of Bothwell's alleged 'Testament' came under his notice, 
passed a whole winter in Zealand when he went to obtain the hand 
of his bride, and was noted there for his curiosity respecting every- 
thing important or interesting in Denmark, met with the sons of the 
men who were said to have been present when Bothwell made his 
dying declaration, was within sight of Malmoe Castle, where the 
murderer of his father was so long imprisoned, and was only a few 
miles distant from the spot where he was buried, yet apparently 
made no inquiry respecting this document, and certainly made no 
reference to it. That in these circumstances, says the Professor, 
James ' never then nor afterwards sought to bring to light any such 
attestation of his mother's innocence as that alleged, and never 
caused it to be communicated to any of the historians whose works 
he followed with such interest, is the strongest proof against its 
authenticity.' Bothwell fortunately left no issue. 

The title of Earl of Bothwell was conferred by James VI., 29th 
July, 1576, on Francis Stewart, eldest son of John Stewart, Prior 

264 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

of Coldingham, natural son of James V. by Elizabeth, daughter of Sir 
John Carmichael. The Prior obtained legitimation under the Great 
Seal, 7th February, 155 1 , and married, in 1562, Lady Jane Hepburn, 
daughter of Patrick, third Earl of Bothwell, and sister of the murderer 
of Darnley. It was no doubt owing to his near relationship to the 
Hepburns through his mother, that their forfeited titles were conferred 
upon him, along with a considerable portion of their estates. He 
was also appointed Lord High Admiral of Scotland, Sheriff- Principal 
of the county of Edinburgh, and within the constabulary of Lladding- 
ton, and Sheriff of the county of Berwick, and Bailiary of Lauderdale. 
From his early years Francis Stewart was noted for his restless 
and turbulent disposition. He took part against the Earl of Arran, 
the royal favourite, and quarrelled with Sir William Stewart, Arran' s 
brother, whom he killed in a fray which took place in Black- 
friars Wynd, in Edinburgh, on the 30th July, 1588. In that same 
year he assisted the Popish Earls of Huntly, Errol, and Angus, 
in their rebellion, and was imprisoned in Tantallon Castle ; but 
after a few months' confinement he was released on payment of a 
fine to the Crown. In 1589, when James went to Denmark in 
quest of his betrothed bride, he appointed Bothwell one of the 
administrators of the kingdom during his absence, in the hope of 
conciliating him by this mark of distinction. But on the return of 
the King the Earl returned to his former practices. In January, 
1 59 1, a number of wretched creatures were brought to trial and 
burned on a charge of witchcraft, and two of them declared that 
Bothwell had consulted them in order to know the time of the King's 
death, and that at his instigation they had raised the storm which 
had endangered the lives of James and his queen, on their voyage 
homeward from Denmark. The Earl surrendered himself a prisoner 
in the castle of Edinburgh, to meet these charges, insisting that 
4 the devil, wha was a Iyer from the beginning, nor yet his sworn 
witches, ought not to be credited.' But after remaining three weeks 
in prison he became impatient of restraint, and on the 22nd of June, 
1 59 1, he effected his escape from the castle, and fled to the Borders. 
The King on this proclaimed him a traitor, and forbade, under the 
penalties of treason, any one to ' reset, supply, show favour, inter- 
commune, or have intelligence with him.' Bothwell, no way intimi- 
dated by this procedure, returned secretly to Edinburgh with a body 
of his retainers, and on the evening of December 27th, furtively 
obtained admission to the inner court of Holyrood. An alarm was 

The He pb urns. 265 

given, and the King, who was then at supper, rushed down a back- 
stair leading to one of the turrets, in which he took refuge.* The 
attendants barred and barricaded the door of the Queen's apart- 
ment, which Bothwell attempted to force open. Meanwhile notice 
of this attack was sent to the Provost of the city, who hastily col- 
lected a band of armed citizens, with whom he entered the palace by 
a private door leading to the royal chapel, and compelled Bothwell 
and his followers to take to flight. Nine of them were captured, 
and without a trial were hanged next morning, on a new gallows 
erected opposite the palace gate for the purpose. 

Sir James Melville, who was present, gives a lively picture of the 
scene of disorder, brilliantly illuminated by the glare of passing 
torches ; while the report of firearms, the clatter of armour, the din 
of hammers thundering on the gates, mingled wildly with the war- 
cry of the Borderers, who shouted incessantly, ' Justice ! justice ! 
A Bothwell ! a Bothwell ! ' t 

The ' Abbey Raid,' as it was called, was so nearly successful that 
Bothwell was encouraged to make another attempt to seize the 
royal person. Having collected a body of his retainers on the 
Borders, he made a rapid march, during the night, to Falkland, 
where the King was then residing in peaceful seclusion, and had 
very nearly fallen into the hands of his turbulent subject. A 
messenger, sent by Sir James Melville to warn the King of his 
danger, reached the palace only a few moments before the Earl and 
his followers. After a fruitless effort to force an entrance, he with- 
drew to the Borders, and shortly after took refuge in England, where 
he seems to have been welcomed by Queen Elizabeth. James was 
so indignant at this renewed act of treason, that he vented his anger 

* Spottiswood lauds the firm deportment of the King when Bothwell was thunder- 
ing at the door of the Queen's apartment. But Birrel describes the King's majesty as 
' flying down the backstairs with his breeches in his hand ' {Birrel, p. 30). ' Such is 
the difference,' says Sir Walter Scott, ' betwixt the narrative of the courtly archbishop 
and that of the Presbyterian burgess of Edinburgh.' This scene seems to have been 
regarded by Sir Walter with great amusement. In the ' Fortunes of Nigel ' he repre- 
sents Richie Moniplies as describing the array of King James when his majesty was 
about to go out to hunt, or hawk, on Blackheath. ' A bonny grey horse, the saddle, and 
the stirrups, and the curb, and the bit o' gowd, or silver gilded at least ; the King, with 
all his nobles, dressed out in his hunting-suit of green, doubly laced and laid down 
with gowd. My certy, lad, thought I,' adds Richie, ' times are changed since ye came 
fleeing down the backstairs of auld Holyrood House in grit fear, having your breeks 
in your hand, without time to put them on, and Frank Stewart, the wild Earl of Both- 
well, hard at your haunches.' 

t Melville's Memoirs, 356. 

266 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

upon Bothwell's countess, a daughter of the seventh Earl of Angus, 
and widow of Sir Walter Scott of Buccleuch, and issued a procla- 
mation ordering that no one should ' reset her, give her entertain- 
ment, or have any commerce of society with her in any case.' 

The Earl, however, had warm friends at Court, particularly 
Lennox, Athole, and Ochiltree — nobles of the Stewart family ; and 
encouraged by their support, he returned to Scotland in 1593, and 
on the 23rd of July was brought secretly to Edinburgh, accompanied 
by John Colville, brother of the Lord of Castle Wemyss, and was 
lodged for the night in a house adjoining the palace, belonging to 
the Countess of Gowrie, Athole's mother-in-law. Early next morn- 
ing the Countess of Athole, taking Bothwell and Colville along with 
her, entered the palace by a private passage which communicated 
with Lady Gowrie' s house, and conducting them into an anteroom 
opening into the King's bedchamber, hid them behind the arras. 
She then stealthily displaced the arms of the guard, and, having 
locked the door of the Queen's bedchamber, to prevent the escape 
of the King, retired with her attendants. In a short time Both- 
well, emerging from his hiding-place, knocked loudly at the King's 
chamber door, which was immediately opened by the Earl of Athole. 
James, who happened to be at the instant in a closet opening into the 
apartment, hearing a noise, rushed out in a state of dishabille, and 
seeing Bothwell and Colville standing with drawn swords, attempted 
to escape by the Queen's bedchamber, but finding the door locked 
he called out, ' Treason ! treason ! ' At that moment the Duke of 
Lennox, Athole, Ochiltree, and others of Bothwell's friends, entered 
the room, and James, finding that he was completely in their power, 
threw himself into a chair, and with unwonted courage faced the 
danger which he could not avoid. Bothwell and Colville threw 
themselves on their knees before him, but James called out, * Come 
on, Francis ! You seek my life, and I know I am wholly in your 
power. Strike, and end thy work ! ' But Bothwell, with unexpected 
moderation, only stipulated for the remission of his forfeiture. He 
declared his willingness to submit to trial on the charges of witch- 
craft, and of seeking the King's life directly or indirectly, and 
offered that, after he had been tried and acquitted, he would leave 
the country, if it should be his Majesty's pleasure, and go to any 
place he should be pleased to appoint. James yielded to Bothwell's 
entreaties, and subscribed a document, promising him, on condition 
of his peaceable behaviour, a fair trial, and in the event of his 

The Hepburns. 267 

acquittal, restoration to his rank and estates. It was further stipu- 
lated that he should in the meantime retire from the Court ; and 
Bothwell having readily acquiesced, his peace was next day pro- 
claimed by the heralds at the Cross of Edinburgh. 

The trial accordingly took place on the 10th of August, and lasted 
for nine hours. It ended in Bothwell' s complete acquittal, and was 
immediately followed by full remission of all his ' by-gone offences 
done to his Majesty and his authority, preceding this day, never to 
be quarrelled hereafter.' A proclamation was also issued by the 
King, charging the lieges that none of them ' tak upon hand to 
slander, murmur, reproach, or backbite the said Earl and his 
friends.' James, however, had no intention of keeping the agree- 
ment which he had made with his factious subject, and Bothwell was 
informed that if he would renounce the conditions extorted by force 
from the King, being a breach of the royal prerogative, a remission 
would be granted for his past offences, but that he must forthwith 
retire out of the kingdom, and ' remain forth of the same,' during 
his Majesty's pleasure. Lord Home and Both well's other enemies 
were at the same time permitted to return to Court, from which his 
friends were expelled. He was served with a summons to appear 
before the King and Council on the 25th October, 1593, to answer 
sundry charges of high treason, and, having failed to appear, he 
was denounced a rebel, and put to the horn. Incensed at these 
proceedings, Bothwell levied a body of five hundred moss-troopers, 
and marched to the neighbourhood of Edinburgh. James went out 
to meet him at the head of a numerous but undisciplined body of 
the citizens, and drew them up on the Boroughmuir. He had 
previously despatched Lord Home with a body of cavalry to attack 
Bothwell, but they were no match for the warlike Borderers, and 
were quickly put to the rout. As soon as the King saw the fugitives 
approaching, he fled upon the gallop back to the city. Bothwell 
however, in his eager pursuit of the defeated troops, was thrown 
from his horse, and so severely injured that he retired to Dalkeith, 
where he passed the night. Next morning he dismissed his fol- 
lowers, and once more sought security on the English side of the 
Border. Elizabeth, however, had by this time discovered that he 
could no longer be of service to her, and expelled him from the 
country. Sentence of excommunication was pronounced against 
him by the Church, which rendered him liable to the highest 
civil penalties. He was driven from all his castles and places of 

268 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

shelter, and was chased from one quarter of the country to another. 
At length, after being keenly pursued through the county of Caith- 
ness, where he made several hairbreadth escapes, he found means 
of retiring to France. He then wandered into Spain, and afterwards 
passed into Italy, where he renounced the Protestant faith. He 
there led a life of obscurity and indigence, earning a wretched sub- 
sistence by the exhibition of feats of arms, fortune-telling, and 
necromancy. He died at Naples in 1612, in great misery. The 
forfeited estates of Bothwell were divided among Sir Walter Scott 
of Buccleuch, his stepson, Ker of Cessford, and Lord Home. The 
forfeited titles of the Earl were never recovered, but the greater part of 
his extensive estates were restored by Charles I. to Francis Stewart, 
his eldest son, who married Lady Isabella Seton, only daughter of 
Robert, first Earl of Winton, and ultimately sold his paternal 
estates to the Winton family. He left a son and a daughter. In 
Creichton's ' Memoirs' it is stated that Francis Stewart, the grand- 
son of the Earl of Bothwell, though so nearly related to the royal 
family, was a private in the Scottish Horse Guards, in the reign of 
Charles II. This circumstance appears to have suggested to Sir 
Walter Scott the character of Sergeant Bothwell in ' Old Mortality.' 
John Stewart, the second son of the Earl, was the last Commen- 
dator of Coldingham, and he got the lands which belonged to that 
priory formed into a barony in 1621. 


HE Frasers, like most of the other great Scottish houses, 
were of Norman descent. Their original designation was 
Frissell, which occurs in the roll of Battle Abbey, and is 
still given to them in various parts of the country. As is 
the case with most of the old Scottish families, a fabulous origin is 
ascribed to the Frasers, whose ancestor, it is pretended, came to 
Scotland in the reign of Charlemagne, along with the French 
ambassadors whom that great monarch is said to have sent to form 
a league with King Achaius. In reality the first of the name settled 
in Scotland in the reign of Malcolm Canmore, and appears to have 
obtained from that monarch a grant of lands in East Lothian. In 
the reign of David I., Malcolm's youngest son, Sir Simon Fraser, 
possessed half of the lands of Keith, in East Lothian, called from 
him Keith Simon. Hervey, the ancestor of the Keiths, Earls Maris- 
chal, who married Simon's grand-daughter, was proprietor of the 
other half, named from him Keith Hervie. Another member of the 
Fraser family, a Sir Gilbert, obtained the lands of North Hailes, 
and also a large estate in Tweeddale. Oliver Castle, a celebrated 
stronghold of the Frasers, of which a few fragments still remain, was 
built by Oliver Fraser, eldest son of Sir Gilbert. But the most 
illustrious of the heads of this famous house was Sir Simon Fraser, 
the renowned warrior and patriot, and the bosom friend of Sir William 
Wallace. His father, who bore the same name, held the office of 
High Sheriff of Tweeddale, and was one of the Scottish magnates 
who took part in the discussions respecting the pretensions of the 
various claimants to the Scottish crown, and supported the rights of 
Baliol. He died in 1291. The great Sir Simon, like his father, 
adhered faithfully to the cause of Baliol till that weak and wavering 

2yO The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

personage betrayed his own cause, and surrendered the crown to 
Edward I. 

Sir Simon had evidently been regarded by the English monarch 
as unfriendly to his claims, for when he invaded Scotland, in 1296, he 
carried the chief of the Frasers with him to England, and kept him 
there a close prisoner for eight months. In June, 1297, Sir Simon 
and his cousin, Sir Richard Fraser, received permission to pay a 
visit to Scotland, on giving their pledge to return, and accompany 
Edward on his projected expedition to France. The Frasers, how- 
ever, like most of the nobles of that day, and even the clergy of the 
highest rank, seem to have regarded promises extorted by force or 
threats as not binding ; and when Sir William Wallace, after the 
battle of Falkirk, resigned his double office as Guardian of the 
Kingdom, and General of the Army, Sir Simon was chosen to succeed 
him as commander of the Scottish forces, while Sir John Comyn of 
Badenoch was appointed Guardian. In 1303, an English army of 
thirty thousand men, in violation, it was alleged, of a truce which 
had been agreed upon between the Scots and English, invaded Scot- 
land, and advanced to Roslin, a few miles from Edinburgh. They 
were divided into three bodies, encamped at a considerable distance 
from each other. The Scottish leaders, Sir Simon Fraser and 
Sir John Comyn, hearing of these hostile movements, made a rapid 
night march from Biggar at the head of ten thousand men, and next 
day (February 25th) attacked and defeated these three divisions in 
succession in one day. 

Incensed at this defeat, King Edward invaded Scotland at the 
head of a powerful army, with which the Scots were quite unable to 
cope in the open field. Comyn and most of the great nobles made 
submission to the invader, but Sir Simon Fraser firmly refused to 
lay down his arms, and was, in consequence, expressly excepted 
from the conditions of the capitulation made at Strathorde, on the 
9th of February, 1303-4. The indomitable chief remained in con- 
cealment in the north till 1306, when he joined Robert Bruce, who, 
in that year, was crowned at Scone. He was present at the battle 
of Methven, where he performed prodigies of valour, and is said to 
have rescued and remounted the King when his horse was killed 
under him. According to one account, Sir Simon made his escape 
from the field along with Bruce, and was treacherously seized at 
Restalrig, near Edinburgh, in 1307, by the retainers of one of the 
Comyns. But a different account of his apprehension is given in a 

The Frasers of Lovat. 271 

manuscript chronicle in the British Museum, quoted by Ritson. After 
noticing- the defeat of the Scots, the chronicler thus proceeds : — 

' When Robert the Bruce saw this mischief, and gan to flee and 
hov'd him, that men might not him find ; but S. Simond Frisell 
pursued was so sore, so that he turned again and abode bataille, for 
he was a worthy knight, and a bolde of bodye, and the English 
pursued him sore on every side, and quelde the steed that Sir Simon 
Frisell rode upon, and then toke him and led him to the host. And 
S. Symond began for to flatter and speke fair, and saide, " Lordys, I 
shall give you four thousand markes of silver, and mine horse and 
harness, and all my armour and income." Tho' answered Thobaude 
of Pevenes, that was the King's archer, " Now God me so helpe, it is 
for nought that thou speakest ; for all the gold of England I would 
not let thee go without commandment of King Edward." And tho' 
he was led to the King, and the King would not see him, but com- 
manded to lead him away to his doom in London, on Our Lady's 
own nativity. And he was hung and drawn, and his head smitten 
off and hanged again with chains of iron upon the gallows, and his 
head was set at London Bridge upon a spear, and against Christ- 
mas the body was burnt for encheson (reason) that the men that 
keeped the body saw many devils ramping with iron crooks running 
upon the gallows, and horribly tormenting the body. And many 
that them saw, anon thereafter died for dread, or waxen mad, or sore 
sickness they had.' 

A ballad which appears to have been written at the time gives 
an account of the cruel and barbarous treatment which the English 
king disgraced himself by giving to a knight conspicuous among 
his contemporaries for his high deeds of chivalry, as well as personal 
gallantry. After mentioning how Sir Simon was brought into 
London, with a garland of green leaves on his head, to show that he 
was a traitor, the writer goes on to say — 

' Y-fettered were his legs under his horse's wombe, 
Both with iron and with steel manacled were his hond, 
A garland of pervynk* set upon his heved ; f 
Much was the power that him was bereved 

In land, 
So God me amend, 
Little he ween'd 

So to be brought in hand. 

* Periwinkle. t Head. 

272 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

1 With fetters and with gives y-hot he was to draw * 
From the Tower of London, that many men might know, 
In a kirtle of burel, a selcouth wise, 
And a garland on his head of the new guise. 

Through Cheape 
Many men of England 
For to see Symond 

Thitherward can leap. 

' Though he cam to the gallows first he was on hung, 
All quick beheaded that him thought long ; 
Then he was y-opened, his bowels y-brend, t 
The heved to London-bridge was send 

To shende. 
So evermore mote I the, 
Some while weened he 

Thus little to stand. \ 

* * * * * 

' Now standeth the heved above the tu-brigge 
Fast by Wallace sooth for to segge ; 
After succour of Scotland long may he pry, 
And after help of France what halt it to lie. 

I ween, 
Better him were in Scotland 
With his axe in his hand 

To play on the green,' &c. 

One of the uncles of this illustrious patriot was the celebrated 
Bishop Fraser of St. Andrews, Chancellor of Scotland, the coun- 
sellor of Sir William Wallace, and one of the earliest defenders of 
the rights and liberties of the kingdom. He was one of the Lords of 
the Regency chosen by the States during the minority of the infant 
Queen Margaret, the ' Maiden of Norway.' After her death he was 
appointed by King Edward one of the guardians of Scotland, and 
rendered an enforced homage to that monarch. He took a pro- 
minent part in asserting the independence of Scotland against the 
violation of its rights and liberties by the English king, and was 
one of the commissioners who concluded a treaty, offensive and 
defensive, with Philip, King of France. 

Sir Simon left no male issue, and with him expired the direct male 

line of the Lowland Frasers, who had for upwards of two hundred 

years been the most powerful family in Tweeddaie. His two 

daughters inherited his extensive estates. The elder married Sir 

Gilbert Hay, the ancestor of the Marquis of Tweeddaie. The 

younger became the wife of Sir Patrick Fleming, from whom the 

Earls of Wigtoun are descended. 

* He was condemned to be drawn. t Burned. 

\ Meaning, at one time he little thought to stand thus. 

The Frdsers of Lovat. 273 

Sir Andrew Fraser, second son of Sir Gilbert and uncle of 
Sir Simon, became, on the death of the patriot, the male repre- 
sentative of the Fraser family. He possessed the lands of Touch, in 
Stirlingshire, and of Struthers, in Fife, afterwards the property of 
the Lindsays, Earls of Crawford. ' He was,' says Anderson, the 
historian of the family, ' the first of the name of Fraser who estab- 
lished an interest for himself and his descendants in the northern 
parts of Scotland, and more especially in Inverness-shire, where they 
have ever since figured with such renown and distinction.' The 
mother of Sir Simon the patriot was one of the Bissets of Lovat, a 
great family long ago extinct, and probably this fact had some 
influence in obtaining from James I. for Hugh Fraser, the first of 
the Frasers of Lovat, the gift of the extensive estates of the Bissets, 
on the Beauly Firth, which still remain in the possession of the head 
of the clan. Here, at Castle Downie, or Beaufort, as it is now called, 
they established their chief seat and became the heads of a powerful 
clan, who, after the manner of the Celtic race, assumed the name of 
MacShimie, or sons of Simon, the favourite name of the Frasers 
down to the present day. Hugh Fraser obtained a large estate in 
the north through his marriage with Margaret, one of the co- 
heiresses of the Earl of Caithness. He fell at the battle of Halidon 
Hill (19th July, 1333). His eldest son died unmarried. His second 
son, Hugh, was created a Lord of Parliament under the title of Lord 
Fraser of Lovat. Thomas, the third lord, grandson of Hugh, held the 
office of Justiciary of the North, and fell at Flodden. 

While thus laying down their lives in their country's cause, the 
Frasers also took their full share of clan feuds and battles, in their own 
district. In the sanguinary contest of Blar-na-parc with the Mac- 
donalds of Clanranald, fought in July, 1544, owing to the heat of the 
weather, the combatants threw off their coats and fought in their 
shirts, whence the field received the designation of ' Blair-lan-luni,' 
the Field of Shirts. The whole of the Frasers engaged in the fight, 
four hundred in number, including Hugh, fourth Lord Lovat, the 
Royal Justiciary, and his eldest son (with the exception of one of 
the dunniewassals, Fraser of Foyers, and four of the clan), were 
killed, while of the Macdonalds only eight survived. 

The style of life kept up by the chiefs of the Fraser clan, and their 
liberal hospitality, may be understood from the abundance shown in 
the household expenditure of the sixth Lord Lovat. The weekly con- 
sumption included seven bolls of malt, seven bolls of meal, and one 

vol. 11. t 

274 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

of flour. Each year seventy beeves were consumed, besides venison, 
fish, poultry, lamb, veal, and all sorts of feathered game in profusion. 
His lordship imported wines, sugars, and spices from France in 
return for the salmon produced by his rivers. When he died, in 
1 63 1, his funeral was attended by four thousand armed clansmen, 
for all of whom entertainment would be provided. 

The heads of the clan continued in uninterrupted succession to 
enjoy the state and authority of great Highland chieftains, resisting 
their adversaries, and protecting their vassals and friends, without 
incurring the disapprobation of the sovereign, down to the time of 
the notorious Simon Fraser, twelfth Lord Lovat, who expiated his 
numerous crimes, of which treason was by no means the worst, on the 
scaffold. The memoirs and letters of his day abound with anecdotes 
respecting Lovat' s villanies, his hardihood, and his wit, which did not 
forsake him even on the scaffold. The incidents of his life would be 
thought highly coloured if they had been narrated in a romance. 
He alternated between the lowest depths of poverty and misery, and 
the summit of high rank and immense power. He had been by 
turns an outlaw from his own country, a proscribed traitor, a prisoner 
for years in the Bastille, in France, a Roman Catholic priest, a peer, 
and the chief of one of the most powerful clans in the Highlands. 

Simon Fraser was the son of Thomas Fraser, of Beaufort, next 
male heir to the house of Lovat and to the chieftainship of the 
Frasers, after the death of Hugh, Lord Lovat, without male issue. 
He was born in 1667, and was educated at King's College, Old 
Aberdeen. In 1694, before he had completed his studies, he obtained 
a commission in the regiment of Lord Murray, afterwards Earl of 
Tullibardine, son of the Marquis of Athole, to whom he made himself 
specially obnoxious by his quarrelsome behaviour. On the death ot 
the tenth Lord Lovat, in 1696, Simon Fraser assumed the designa- 
tion of Master of Lovat, and his father laid claim to the title and 
estates. The late lord, however, had left a daughter only eleven 
years of age, and Simon concocted a scheme, which had nearly proved 
successful, to strengthen his claim by marrying the young girl. As 
his character was notoriously bad, her mother and friends were 
strongly opposed to the match, and Tullibardine was alleged to desire 
that she should marry one of his own sons. As they were mere boys, 
however, this scheme, if it was ever really entertained, could not be 
carried out, and Lord Saltoun, the head of another branch of the 
Erasers, was proposed as a more suitable husband for the young 

The Frasers of Lovat. 275 

heiress. Meanwhile, Simon had tried to get her into his power by 
the assistance of one of his associates, Fraser of Tenechiel ; but after 
conducting her out of the house one winter night in such haste that 
she is said to have gone barefooted, Tenechiel, either through fear 
or a fit of repentance, restored her to her mother's keeping. Being 
thus made aware of the danger to which the girl was exposed, Lord 
Saltoun and Lord Mungo Murray, the dowager Lady Lovat' s 
brother, hurried northward in order to arrange for conveying the 
heiress to a place of security. But Simon was on the alert, and 
having collected a body of his clansmen for the purpose, he seized 
the intended bridegroom and his friend at the wood of Bunchrew, 
and carried them prisoners to the house of Fanellan. A gallows 
was erected before the windows of the apartment in which they were 
confined, in order to intimidate them into submission to Simon's 
demands, and a summons was issued to the clan to come to the 
assistance of their chief. About five hundred men assembled in the 
course of a week, and Simon, putting himself at their head, with 
flags flying and bagpipes screaming, marched to Castle Downie, 
taking his prisoners with him. The heiress, however, had by this time 
been transferred to a secure place of refuge in her uncle's country of 
Athole, where she was afterwards married to Mr. Mackenzie of 
Prestonhall, who assumed the designation of Fraser of Fraserdale. 

Simon, though baffled in his attempt to obtain possession of the 
young lady, found her mother, the dowager Lady Lovat, in the 
family mansion, and at once resolved to marry her, in order to secure 
through her jointure some interest in the estate. He first set at 
liberty his two prisoners, in order that they might not witness his 
proceedings, but he made Saltoun bind himself, under a forfeiture of 
eight thousand pounds, not to ' interfere ' again in his affairs. The 
three female attendants of Lady Lovat were then forcibly removed. 
One of them, on being brought back to take off her ladyship's 
clothes, found her sitting in a fainting state on the floor, while some 
of Simon's men were endeavouring to divest her of her raiment. A 
marriage ceremony was hastily performed between her and Simon by 
Robert Mure, the minister of Abertarf. The dress of the outraged 
lady was cut from her person by a dirk, and she was subjected to the 
last extremity of brutal violence, while the bagpipes played in the 
apartment adjacent to her bedroom to drown her screams. Her 
attendant found her, next morning, speechless and apparently out 
of her senses. 

276 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

When the news of this shocking- outrage reached Lady Lovat's 
relations, her brother, Lord Tullibardine, obtained letters of fire and 
sword against the Master of Lovat and his accomplices, and marched 
with a body of troops to Inverness-shire, for the purpose of rescuing 
his sister out of the hands of the ruffians by whom she was kept a 
close prisoner. On the approach of the troops, Simon conveyed 
the lady to the isle of Aigas, a fastness in the midst of the Beauly 
river where he was safe from pursuit. On quitting this place of refuge 
he seems to have shifted from place to place throughout the Fraser 
territory, dragging- about with him the poor lady whom he had so 
shamefully outraged, and occasionally coming into collision with the 
troops sent to apprehend him. At length, in September, 1698, he 
and nineteen of his chief accomplices were tried in absence before 
the High Court of Justiciary, for rape and other atrocious crimes, 
which were held as treasonable — a decision the legality of which 
was denied at the time. They were found guilty and condemned to 
capital punishment, and their lands were confiscated. Simon made 
his escape, however, and according to one account he fled to the 
Continent, where he obtained access to King William, who was then 
at Loo. It is doubtful, however, whether he went farther than 
London. This much is certain, that through the influence of the 
Duke of Argyll, who was probably induced to move in the matter 
from hostility to the Marquis of Athole, the King was persuaded to 
pardon Simon's other offences, but he declined to remit his outrage 
against Lady Lovat. On his return to Scotland he was summoned 
to answer for this crime at the bar of the Justiciary Court, on the 
17th of February, 1701. It is asserted that he fully intended to 
stand his trial, protected by a strong body of his clansmen, in the 
hope that he would thus overawe the Court. But on the morning of 
the day appointed for his trial, having learned that the judges were 
hostile to him, he fled at once to England, and was in consequence 

Simon appears, however, to have speedily returned to his own 
district, for in February, 1702, he is represented as living openly in 
the country, ' to the contempt of all authority and justice.' ' He 
keeps,' it was said, ' in a manner his open residence within the 
lordship of Lovat, where, and especially in Stratherrick, he further 
presumes to keep men in arms attending and guarding his person,' 
and levying contributions from Lady Lovat's tenants, who were in 
consequence unable to pay her any rents. For this offence letters 

The Frasers of Lovat. 277 

of intercommuning were issued against him on her ladyship's peti- 
tion. In these circumstances Lord Lovat, as he now called himself, 
his father being dead, deemed it expedient to take refuge in France. 
He took with him a general commission, which he declared he had 
received from a number of Highland chiefs and leading Jacobites in 
the Lowlands, authorising him to engage that they would take up 
arms in the cause of the exiled family. Armed with this authority 
he proceeded ic St. Germains, and submitted to the exiled court a 
project for raising an insurrection against the reigning sovereign of 
Great Britain, by means of the Highland clans. The Chevalier de 
St. George and the French ministers were aware of the infamy of 
Fraser's character, and distrusted his schemes, but Mary of Este 
was disposed to put confidence in him, and he was sent back to 
Scotland with a colonel's commission in the Jacobite service. He 
is said to have had interviews on the subject of his mission with 
Cameron of Lochiel, Stuart of Appin, and other Highland chiefs. 
If so, his object must have been to entrap them into some treason- 
able action, for he immediately disclosed the whole proceeding to 
the Duke of Queensberry, who was then at the head of affairs in 
Scotland. The Duke of Hamilton and some other influential noble- 
men who were included in Fraser's accusation, affirmed that his 
statements were utterly devoid of truth, and even went so far as to 
assert that the plot was a mere pretext devised by the Duke of 
Queensberry himself. Fraser was sent back to France in order to 
obtain additional information for the Government respecting the 
conspiracies of the Jacobites, but his double treachery had by this 
time become known, and as soon as he appeared in Paris he was 
arrested and sent to the Bastille. He is said to have passed ten 
years in prison, partly in the castle of Angouleme, partly in Saumur, 
where he is alleged to have taken priest's orders. All his efforts to 
induce the French Government to set him at liberty were unsuc- 
cessful, but he at length succeeded in making his escape, with the 
assistance of his kinsman, Major Fraser, who had been sent to the 
Continent by the clan to discover where he was. He reached Eng- 
land, after a dangerous passage across the Channel, in November, 
1 7 14, but he was still under the sentence of outlawry, and in the 
following June he was arrested in London, at the instigation of the 
Marquis of Athole. He was set at liberty, however, on the Earl of 
Sutherland, John Forbes of Culloden, and some other gentlemen, 
becoming bail for him. 

278 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

When the Jacobite insurrection of 17 15 broke out, Simon set out 
for Scotland, no doubt with the intention of joining- the party that 
should appear most likely to promote his own interests. He alleges 
that he was arrested at Newcastle, Longtovvn, near Carlisle, Dum- 
fries, and Lanark, which would seem to show that his character was 
generally known, and that his intentions were as generally distrusted. 
He was allowed, however, in the end to prosecute his journey. On 
reaching Edinburgh he was instantly apprehended by order of the 
Lord Justice-Clerk, and was about to be imprisoned in the castle, 
when he was set at liberty through the interposition of the Lord 
Provost of the city. He made his way by sea from Leith to Inver- 
ness-shire, and found that Mackenzie of Fraserdale had led a body of 
five hundred men of the Fraser clan to the standard of the Earl of 
Mar. Three hundred of them, however, had disobeyed his orders 
and had remained at home, and putting himself at their head, Lovat 
concerted a plan, with Duncan Forbes of Culloden, for the recovery 
of Inverness, the capital of the Highlands, which had been garri- 
soned by Sir John Mackenzie of Coul, with four hundred of his clan. 
He also sent a message to his clansmen who had joined the rebels, 
ordering them immediately to quit Lord Mar's camp. Though there 
is every reason to believe that their own predilections were in favour 
of the exiled Stewart dynasty, and they were under the command of 
the husband of the heiress of their late chief, they at once aban- 
doned the Jacobite cause, and set out on their march to place them- 
selves under the command of Simon Fraser, whom they recognised 
as their rightful chief. Strengthened by this important accession to 
the force under his command, and by a body of auxiliaries furnished 
by the Munros, Grants, and Rosses, who had always adhered to the 
Whig side, Lovat proceeded to carry into effect the plan which 
Duncan Forbes and he had devised for obtaining possession of 
Inverness. On their approach the garrison abandoned the town, 
and dropping down the river in boats, during the night of November 
15th, they made their escape to the northern coast of the Moray 

Such important services rendered at this critical period were not 
likely to remain without a liberal recompense. Simon received first 
of all a royal pardon for his crimes. Mackenzie of Fraserdale was 
obliged to leave the country on the suppression of the rebellion, a 
sentence of attainder and outlawry was passed against him, and his 
forfeited life-rent of the estate of Lovat was bestowed by a grant 

The Frasers of Lovat. 279 

from the Crown (23rd August, 1716)011 Lord Lovat. The Court 
of Session, in July, 1730, pronounced in favour of his claim to the 
title. But the judgment was regarded as given by an incompetent 
tribunal, and to prevent an appeal to the House of Lords a compro- 
mise was made with Hugh Mackenzie, son of the baroness, who had 
assumed the title. On payment of a considerable sum of money he 
consented to cede to Simon Fraser his claim to the family honours, 
and his right to the estate, after the death of his father. Having 
thus obtained the family titles, property, and chieftainship, Lovat 
had full scope to indulge his evil passions, and to pursue his own 
selfish ends. ' He was indeed,' says Sir Walter Scott, ' a most 
singular person, such as could only have arisen in a time and situa- 
tion where there was a mixture of savage and civilized life. The 
wild and desperate passions of his youth were now matured into a 
character at once bold, cautious, and crafty; loving command, yet 
full of flattery and dissimulation, and accomplished in all points of 
policy excepting that which is proverbially considered the best, he 
was at all times profuse of oaths and protestations, but chiefly, as 
was observed of Charles IX. of France, when he had determined in 
nis own mind to infringe them. Like many cunning people, he 
seems often to have overshot his mark ; while the indulgence of a 
temper so fierce and capricious as to infer some slight irregularity 
of intellect frequently occasioned the shipwreck of his fairest schemes 
of self-interest. To maintain and extend his authority over a High- 
land clan, he showed in miniature alternately the arts of a Machiavelli 
and the tyranny of a Csesar Borgia. His hospitality was exuberant, 
yet was regulated by means which savoured much of a paltry 
economy. His table was filled with Frasers, all of whom he called 
his cousins, but took care that the fare with which they were regaled 
was adapted not to the supposed equality, but to the actual import- 
ance of the guests. Thus the claret did not pass below a particular 
mark on the table ; those who sat beneath that limit had some 
cheaper liquor, which had also its bounds of circulation ; and the 
clansmen at the extremity of the board were served with single ale. 
Still it was drunk at the table of their chief, and that made amends 
for all. Lovat had a Lowland estate, where he fleeced his tenants 
without mercy, for the sake of maintaining his Highland military 
retainers. He was a master of the Highland character, and knew 
how to avail himself of its peculiarities. He knew every one whom 
it was convenient for him to caress ': had been acquainted With his 

280 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

father, remembered the feats of his ancestors, and was profuse in 
his complimentary expressions of praise and fondness. If a man of 
substance offended Lovat, or, which was the same thing, if he pos- 
sessed a troublesome claim against him, and was determined to 
enforce it, one would have thought that all the plagues of Egypt 
had been denounced against the obnoxious individual. His house 
was burnt, his flocks driven off, his cattle houghed ; and if the per- 
petrators of such outrages were secured, the gaol of Inverness was 
never strong enough to detain them till punishment. They always 
broke prison. With persons of low rank less ceremony was used, 
and it was not uncommon for witnesses to appear against them for 
some imaginary crime, for which Lord Lovat' s victims suffered the 
punishment of transportation.' 

Lovat was twice married after his return to Scotland in 17 15, 
first to Margaret, fourth daughter of Ludovic Grant of Grant, by 
whom he had two sons and two daughters. After her death, he 
married, in 1733, Primrose, fifth daughter of John Campbell of 
Mamore, brother to the Duke of Argyll, who bore him one son. 
He is said to have overcome her reluctance to take him for a 
husband, by a most disgraceful trick, very worthy of the man. There 
is good reason to believe that he sought to make this lady his wife 
with the hope that he would thereby secure the friendship and 
support of the powerful family of Argyll. ' Finding himself dis- 
appointed in this expectation, he vented his resentment on the poor 
lady, whom he shut up in a turret of his castle, neither affording her 
food, clothes, or other necessaries in a manner suitable to her 
education, nor permitting her to go abroad or to receive any friends 
within doors.' Rumours as to the treatment she was receiving from 
her brutal husband got abroad, and a lady who was deeply interested 
in her welfare made a sudden visit to Castle Downie for the purpose 
of ascertaining Lady Lovat' s real situation. Lovat compelled his 
wife to dress herself in proper apparel, which he brought her, and to 
receive her visitor with all the appearance of a contented and 
respected mistress of the mansion, watching her so closely all the 
while that she could not obtain an opportunity of exchanging words 
with her apart. But the visitor was satisfied from her silence and 
constraint that all was not well, and took active, and in the end 
successful, measures to obtain a separation from her savage husband, 
whom she long survived. 

Lovat, notwithstanding all his professions of loyalty, was at heart 

The Frasers of Lovat. 281 

a Jacobite, and never relinquished the hope of the restoration of the 
Stewarts. He obtained from the Government the command of one 
of the independent companies, termed the Black Watch, organised at 
this time to put down robbery and theft, which afforded him the 
means, without suspicion, of training his whole clan by turn to 
military discipline, and the use of arms. Some purchases of arms 
and ammunition, however, which he made from abroad alarmed the 
Government respecting his intentions, and his commission was 
withdrawn in 1737. His indignation at this treatment no doubt 
contributed to strengthen his alienation from the Hanoverian 
dynasty. He was the first of the seven influential Jacobite leaders 
who subscribed the invitation to the Chevalier in 1740; but when 
Prince Charles arrived, in 1745, without the troops, money, and 
arms which they had stipulated as the condition of their taking the 
field in his behalf, the wily old chief showed great hesitation in 
repairing to his standard. He had been promised a dukedom and 
the lord-lieutenancy of Inverness-shire, and while the Prince lay at 
Invergarry, Fraser of Gortuleg, Lovat' s confidant, waited upon him 
and solicited the patents which he had been led to expect, expressing 
at the same time his great interest in the enterprise, though his age 
and infirmities prevented him from immediately assembling his 
clan in its support. The Prince and his advisers were very desirous 
that Lovat should declare himself in favour of the attempt to replace 
the Stewart family on the throne, as, besides his own numerous and 
warlike clan, he had great influence with the M'Phersons, whose 
chief was his son-in-law, the M'Intoshes, Farquharsons, and other 
septs in Inverness-shire, who were likely to follow the cause which 
he should adopt. It appears that the original patents subscribed by 
the Prince's father had been left behind with the heavy baggage, 
but new deeds were written out and sent by Gortuleg to the selfish 
and cunning old chief. 

Lovat still hesitated, however, to repair to the Jacobite standard, 
and with his usual double-dealing, he continued to profess to 
President Forbes his determination to support the reigning dynasty. 
On the 23rd of August he wrote, 'Your lordship judges right when 
you believe that no hardship, or ill-usage that I meet with, can alter 
or diminish my zeal and attachment for his Majesty's person and 
Government. I am as ready this day (as far as I am able) to serve 
the King and Government as I was in the year 17 15, when I had 
the good fortune to serve the King in suppressing that great 

282 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

Rebellion, more than any one of my rank in the island of Britain. 
But my clan and I have been so neglected these many years past, 
that I have not twelve stand of arms in my country, though I thank 
God I could bring twelve hundred good men to the field for the 
King's service, if I had arms and other accoutrements for them. 
Therefore, my good lord, I earnestly entreat that, as you wish that I 
would do good service to the Government on this critical occasion, 
you may order immediately a thousand stand of arms to be delivered 
to me and my clan at Inverness.' On the following day he wrote, 
1 1 hear that mad and unaccountable gentleman [Prince Charles] 
has set up a standard at a place called Glenfinnan, Monday last.' 

It is amusine and instructive to contrast these letters to President 
Forbes with a communication addressed in September to the chief 
of the Camerons : — 

' Dear Lochiel, — 

1 1 fear you have been ower rash in going out ere affairs were 
ripe. You are in a dangerous state. The Elector's General, Cope, is 
in your rear, hanging at your tail with three thousand men, such as 
have not been seen heir since Dundee's affair, and we have no force 
to meet him. If the Macphersons would take the field, I would bring 
out my lads and help the work; and, 'twixt the twa, we might 
cause Cope to keep his Xmas heir ; bot only Cluny is earnest in the 
cause, and my Lord Advocate (Duncan Forbes) plays at cat and 
mouse with me. But times may change, and I may bring him to 
the Saint Johnstoun's tippet [the gallows rope]. Meantime look to 
yourselves, for we may expect many a sour face, and sharp weapon 
in the south. I'll aid you what I can, but my prayers are all I can 
give at present. My service to the Prince; but I wish he had not 
come here so empty-handed : siller will go far in the Highlands. I 
send this by Ewan Fraser, whom I have charged to give it to your- 
self, for were Duncan to find it, it would be my head to an onion. 

' Farewell, 

* Your faithful friend, 

' LOVAT.' 

The crafty old chief continued his underhand intrigues, pre- 
tending great zeal in promoting the plans of President Forbes, 
while he was in reality doing all in his power to counteract them. 
His object was to unite his own clan with the M'Phersons, the 

The Frasers of Lovat. 283 

M'Intoshes, Farquharsons, and the Macdonalds and Macleods from 
the Island of Skye, and thus to form an army in the north which he 
could afterwards employ in support of the strongest side for his own 
advantage. But his selfish design was seen through by the chiefs 
of the Skye men, and they were induced by President Forbes first to 
remain neutral in the contest, and afterwards to take up arms in 
support of the Government. There can be little doubt that if Lovat 
had declared at the first in favour of the Jacobite cause, the 
Macleods and Macdonalds would have done so too, and their united 
forces would have added greatly to the Prince's chance of success. 
But he hesitated so long as to the course which he should adopt, 
that when he did ultimately take up arms in behalf of the Stewarts, 
his adhesion did no good to them, and brought ruin upon himself. 
He carried out to the last his dissimulation and selfish cunning. 
When the news of the victory at Prestonpans reached him, a 
Jacobite emissary who was with him at the time urged him to ' throw 
off the mask.' He then, in the presence of a number of his vassals, 
flung down his hat and drank success to the Prince and confusion to 
the White Horse (the Hanoverian badge) and all his adherents. 
He still, however, resolved that his own personal share in the 
insurrection should, as far as possible, be kept secret. He, there- 
fore, sent his clan to join the insurgent army, under his eldest son, a 
youth of nineteen, whom he recalled for the purpose from the 
University of St. Andrews, whilst he himself remained at home. It 
was clearly proved on Lovat' s trial that the youth was strongly 
averse to the step, which he was compelled to take by his father's 
threats and arguments, and that he was still more disgusted by the 
duplicity which the arrangement displayed. 

Lovat pretended that his clan had joined the rebels against his 
positive orders, at the instance of his ' unnatural and disobedient son.' 
On the 6th of November, 1745, he wrote to the Lord President: — 
' Foyers and Kilbokie, whose familys always used to be the leading 
familys of the clan on both sides, were the maddest and the keenest 
to go off; and when they saw that I absolutely forbid them to move or 
go out of the country, they drew up with my son, and they easily got 
him to condescend to go at their head. Though I had ten thousand 
lives to save, I could do no more in this affair to save myself than I 
have done ; and if the Government would punish me for the insolent 
behaviour of my son to myself, and his mad behaviour towards the 
Government, it would be a greater severity than ever was used to 

284 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

any subject." The Lord President, however, was not deceived by 
these transparently false representations, and told the crafty old 
dissembler, in courteous but explicit terms, when the affection of 
his clan and their attachment to him in the year 17 15 and down- 
ward were remembered, it would not be easily believed that his 
authority is less with them now than it was at that time. ' It will not 
be credited,' he added, ' that their engagements or inclinations were 
stronger against the Government when the present commotions 
began than they were thirty years ago, when the clan was at Perth.' 

The movement of the Frasers was so long delayed, that the 
march of the Prince into England had taken place before the 
Master of Lovat commenced his journey southward. He, in con- 
sequence, halted at Perth, where a body of the Jacobite troops had 
been stationed under Lord Strathallan. The Frasers afterwards 
joined the main body at Stirling on their return from England. 
They fought at Culloden with their hereditary valour, and when the 
Highlanders were defeated, they marched off the field with their 
banner flying and their bagpipes playing in the face of the enemy. 

In his flight from Culloden, Prince Charles, attended by a small 
body of his officers, proceeded to Gortuleg, where Lord Lovat was 
then residing, and where they met for the first and last time, in 
mutual anxiety and alarm. Sir Walter Scott mentions that a lady, 
who was then a girl, residing in Lord Lovat' s family, described 
to him the unexpected appearance of Prince Charles and his flying 
attendants at Gortuleg, near the Fall of Foyers [not Castle Downie, 
as Sir Walter erroneously supposed]. The wild and desolate vale 
on which she was gazing with indolent composure, was at once so 
suddenly filled with horsemen riding furiously towards the castle, 
that, impressed with the belief that they were fairies, who, according 
to Highland tradition, are visible only from one twinkle of the 
evelid to another, she strove to refrain from the vibration which she 
believed would occasion the strange and magnificent apparition to 
become invisible. To Lord Lovat it brought a certainty more 
dreadful than the presence of fairies, or even demons. Yet he lost 
neither heart nor judgment. He recommended that a body of 
three thousand men should be collected to defend the Highlands 
until the Government should be induced to grant them reasonable 
terms. Mr. Grant of Laggan says that Lovat reproached the 
Prince with great asperity for declaring his intention to abandon 
the enterprise. ' Remember,' he said, ' your great ancestor, Robert 

The Frasers of Lovat. 285 

Bruce, who lost eleven battles and won Scotland by the twelfth.' 
But this judicious advice was unheeded 

The fugitive Prince and his attendants went on to Invergarry, and 
Lovat, finding- that his vassal's house at Gortuleg was no safe place 
of refuge, fled to the mountains, though he was so infirm that he had 
to be carried by his attendants. Not finding himself safe there, he 
escaped in a boat to an island in Loch Morar. He was discovered 
by a detachment from the garrison of Fort William, engaged in 
making descents upon the coasts of Knoidart and Arisaig. In one 
of these descents they got intelligence respecting the aged chief, 
and, after three days' search, they found him concealed in a hollow 
tree with his legs swathed in flannel. He was sent up to London 
and imprisoned in the Tower. His trial did not take place 
until the 9th of March, 1747, to afford time to collect evidence 
sufficient to insure his conviction. No one doubted his complicity 
in the rebellion. Indeed, on one occasion he said of himself that he 
had been engaged in every plot for the restoration of the Stewart 
family since he was fifteen years of age ; but as he had cunningly 
kept in the background, and had abstained from any overt act of 
treason, he would probably have escaped the punishment which he 
justly merited had not John Murray of Broughton, secretary to the 
Prince, purchased his own safety by becoming king's evidence, and 
producing letters from Lovat to Charles which fully established his 
guilt. The trial lasted seven days, and though he defended himself 
with great dexterity, he was found guilty and condemned to be 
beheaded. When sentence was pronounced upon him he said, 
' Farewell, my lords, we shall not all meet again in the same place. 
I am sure of that.' During the interval between his conviction and 
his execution he displayed the utmost insensibility to his position, 
and made his approaching death the subject of frequent jests. He 
was, notwithstanding, anxious to escape his doom, and wrote a letter 
to the Duke of Cumberland, pleading the favour in which he had been 
held by George I., and how he had carried the Duke about when a 
child in the parks of Kensington and Hampton Court ; but, finding 
that all his applications for life were vain, he resolved, as Sir Walter 
Scott savs, to imitate in his death the animal he most resembled in 
his life, and die like the fox, without indulging his enemies by the 
utterance of a sigh or a groan. Though in the eightieth year of his 
age, and so infirm that he had to obtain the assistance of two warders 
in mounting the scaffold, his spirits never flagged. Looking round 

286 The Great Historic Tami/ies of Scotland. 

upon the multitude assembled on Tower Hill to witness his exe- 
cution, he said with a sneer, ' God save us ! Why should there be 
such a bustle about taking off an old grey head from a man who 
cannot get up three steps without two assistants V At this moment, 
a scaffold crowded with spectators gave way, and Lovat was 
informed that a number of them had been seriously injured, if not 
killed. In curious keeping with his character, he remarked in the 
words of an old Scottish adage, ' The more mischief the better 
sport.' He professed to die in the Roman Catholic religion, and, 
after spending a short time in devotion, he repeated the well-known 
line of Horace, singularly inappropriate to his character and fate: — 

' Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori,' 

and laying his head upon the block, he received the fatal blow with 
unabated courage. Of all the victims of the Jacobite rebellion, no 
one either deserved or received so little compassion as Lovat ; but 
his execution, when on the very verge of the grave, conferred little 
credit on the Government. 

Lovat' s titles and estates were of course forfeited, but the latter 
were restored, in 1774, to Simon Fraser, the eldest son of the rebel 
lord, who entered the royal army in 1756, and ultimately attained 
the rank of lieutenant-general. At a time when he did not possess an 
acre of the Fraser estates, he raised among the clan a regiment of four- 
teen hundred men, called the 78th or Fraser Highlanders, and served 
at their head with great distinction in America, and especially under 
General Wolfe, at the memorable battle on the heights of Abraham, 
where he commanded the left wing of the British army. With all 
his bravery and military skill, General Fraser does not appear to have 
commanded much affection or esteem. An old Highlander in Glas- 
gow, to whom he had failed to keep his promise, is reported to have 
said to him, - As long asyou live, Simon of Lovat will never die.' 
And Mrs. Grant of Laggan declared that in him ' a pleasing exte- 
rior covered a large share of his father's character, and that no 
heart was ever harder, no hands more rapacious, than his.' 

General Fraser died without issue in 1782, and was succeeded by his 
half-brother, Colonel Archibald Campbell Fraser, who, like him, 
was long member of Parliament for Inverness-shire. He had the 
misfortune to outlive his five sons, and on his death, in 181 5, the male 
line of the eldest branch of the Fraser family became extinct, and the 
estates devolved upon Thomas Alexander Fraser of Strichen, 

The Fraser s of Lovat. 287 

who was descended from the second son of the sixth Lord Lovat. 
He was the twenty-first chief in succession from the great Sir Simon 
Fraser, the friend of Robert Bruce, and the rights, both of the 
Lovat and the Strichen branches, centred in his person, two hundred 
and twenty-seven years from the time when his ancestors acquired 
the estate of Strichen. He was elevated to the House of Lords in 
1837, by the title of Baron Lovat of Lovat. In 1854 the attainder 
of the forfeited Scottish peerage was removed, and the ancient title 
of his family was restored to him by the House of Lords in 1857. 

At the time of Lord Lovat' s succession to the patrimonial estates 
of his family they were heavily burdened, and large portions of them 
had been provisionally alienated by what is termed ' wadsets,' which 
differ from mortgages in this respect, that they can be redeemed at 
any time on payment of the sum originally lent upon their security; 
but the new peer was a man of great ability and activity, as well as 
of economical habits, and he set himself with praiseworthy energy 
and zeal to relieve the inheritance of his ancestors from its encum- 
brances. For this purpose he disposed of his paternal estate of 
Strichen, and laid out the sum for which it was sold in redeeming 
the 'wadsets' and in improving the Lovat territory, 162,000 acres 
in extent, to which the entailed estate of Abertarf, belonging to 
one of the minor branches of the family, has recently been added, 
yielding altogether, including the deer forest, a rental of upwards 
°f £35> 000 a year. Lord Lovat died in 1876, and was succeeded 
by his eldest son — 

Simon Fraser, the fifteenth Lord Lovat, and the twenty-second 
chief of the Fraser clan. He is regarded as the head of the Roman 
Catholic body in the north. When the Benedictines were expelled 
from France, in 1876, he presented them with the buildings at Fort 
Augustus, which he had shortly before purchased from the Govern- 
ment, and gave them also a liberal endowment to assist in support- 
ing the establishment. 

A suit was instituted before the House of Lords in 1885, by a 
person of the name of John Fraser, who contended that his great- 
grandfather, Alexander Fraser, a miner, who died in Anglesea in 
1776, was identical with Alexander Fraser of Beaufort, son of 
Thomas of Beaufort, twelfth Lord Lovat, whose descendants were 
the nearest heirs to the Lovat estates in the event of the extinction 
of the main line of the family. This Alexander Fraser was said to 

288 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

have fled from Scotland into Wales in 1689, in consequence of 
having killed a fiddler, and having taken part in the rising of the 
Highlanders under Dundee in that year. Their lordships, however, 
were of opinion that there was no evidence adduced to prove that 
Alexander Fraser of Beaufort left Scotland in 1689, or that he was 
identical with Alexander Fraser, the miner, who died in Wales in 
1776. The Committee for Privileges therefore decided that, in their 
opinion, ' John Fraser has no right to the titles, dignity, and 
honours claimed in his petition.' 

The badge of the clan Fraser is the yew, and their war-cry was 
' Castle Downie,' the residence of their chief, which is now termed 
Beaufort Castle. 

The family of Fraser of Castle Fraser, in Aberdeenshire, is de- 
scended in the female line from the Hon. Sir Simon Fraser of 
Inverallochy, second son of Simon, eighth Lord Lovat, and in the 
male line from Colin Mackenzie of Kilcoy, who married Sir Simon's 
great-granddaughter, the heiress of the estate. Andrew Macken- 
zie, the second son of that lady, on succeeding his mother in the 
estate of Inverallochy, and her youngest sister in that of Castle 
Fraser, assumed the additional name of Fraser by royal license. 

The Frasers of Leadclune are descended from Alexander Fraser, 
second son of Hugh, second Lord Lovat. A baronetcy was con- 
ferred on William Fraser, the head of this family, in 1806. 


F the junior branches of the Frasers, the most distinguished 
are the ancient family of Philorth, who trace their descent 
from William Fraser, whose father, Alexander, flour- 
ished during the early part of the fourteenth century, 
but it has not been ascertained whether he had any connection with 
the Frasers of Tweeddale, though it is highly probable that he 
belonged to that family. William Fraser inherited from his father 
the fine estates of Cowie and Durris, in Kincardineshire, which, how- 
ever, long ago passed away from the family. He was killed at the 
battle of Durham, in 1346. His descendants were distinguished 
throughout for their patriotism and their bravery. One of them, 
who was Abbot of Compiegne, in France, was elected in 1596 Rector 
of the University of Paris, was the author of several treatises in 
philosophy, and two theological works. Sir Alexander Fraser of 
Philorth, his nephew, laid the foundations of the castle of Fraser- 
burgh, which became the chitf residence of the family. In 1613 he 
succeeded in getting the town erected into a borough of regality, 
and the parish, which was originally called Philorth, was changed to 
Fraserburgh, in honour of the benefits which he conferred upon it. 
The cross, the gaol, and the court-house were erected by Sir Alex- 
ander. In 1592 he obtained a charter from the Crown, empowering 
him to erect and endow a college and university at Fraserburgh, 
but no steps appear to have been taken to carry this proposal into 
execution. His eldest son, also Sir Alexander, married a daughter 
of the seventh Lord Abernethy of Saltoun, and their son succeeded 
to that peerage as heir of line on the death, in 1669, of his cousin, 
Alexander, ninth Lord Abernethy of Saltoun ; but the estate had 
been sold, in 1643, to Sir Andrew Fletcher, to whose descendants it 
still belongs. 

vol. 11. 


2go The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

The Saltoun Frasers worthily upheld the reputation of the 
patriotic family whom they had succeeded. The sixteenth Lord 
Saltoun in particular was a distinguished military officer, and was 
described by the Duke of Wellington as ' a pattern to the army, 
both as a man and a soldier.' He entered the service in 1802, when 
he was seventeen years of age, as ensign in the 42nd Regiment — the 
famous Black Watch — and, two years after, he obtained a captain's 
commission in the 1st Foot Guards. He served under Sir John 
Moore in his celebrated Spanish campaign, and fought at Corunna, 
1 6th January, 1809. He accompanied the grossly mismanaged and 
disastrous Walcheren expedition in that year. He was with the 
Duke of Wellington throughout the Peninsular campaign, and took 
an active part in its most perilous and sanguinary encounters. He 
gained special distinction in the final struggle with Napoleon at 
Ouatre Bras and at Waterloo. He was appointed to defend the 
important post of Hougoumont, which the Duke deemed it necessary 
to maintain at any cost, as it was essential to the success of his 
operations. Lord Saltoun was directed to hold the orchard and the 
wood with the light troops of the 1st Regiment, while the Coldstreams 
and the 3rd Guards, under Colonel Macdonnell, were stationed in 
the buildings and the garden. The battle raged round Hougoumont 
all day with the greatest fury, but Lord Saltoun kept the enemy at 
bay, though with dreadful carnage. At two o'clock, when, in con- 
sequence of the severe loss of his troops, he returned to his own 
regiment, the 1st Guards, he brought back only one-third of the 
men whom he had led into action. He took a prominent part in the 
last famous charge of the Guards which closed the battle. 

Lord Saltoun' s distinguished services were deservedly rewarded 
with professional honours and promotion. He was made a Com- 
panion of the Bath in 18 15, and K.C.B. in 18 18, and ultimately 
attained the rank of lieutenant-general. He also became Colonel 
of the 2nd Foot in 1846. During the opium war with China, 
Lord Saltoun commanded a brigade at the attack and capture of 
Chin-Kiang-Fou, and received the thanks of both Houses of Parlia- 
ment for ' the energy, ability, and gallantry ' which he had displayed 
in that campaign. 

His lordship was noted for his musical skill and taste, and was 
President of the Madrigal Society, and of the Musical Union. 
Besides his military distinctions, and the Order of the Thistle, with 
which he was invested by his own sovereign, Lord Saltoun was a 

The Frasers of Philorth and Saltoun. 291 

Knight of the Austrian order of Maria Theresa, and of the Russian 
Order of St. George. He died in 1853, without issue, and was 
succeeded by his nephew, Alexander, seventeenth Lord Saltoun, 
a representative peer, on whose death, in February, 1886, the family 
titles and estates passed to his eldest son, Alexander William 
Frfderick, Lieutenant-Colonel in the Grenadier Guards, eighteenth 
Lord Saltoun. 

The title of Baron Fraser (now dormant), in the peerage of 
Scotland, was conferred in 1633 on Andrew Fraser of Muchells, 
in Aberdeenshire, who was descended from a branch of the house of 
Philorth. He died in 1636. His son, also named Andrew, the 
second Lord Fraser, joined the Covenanting party, and fought 
under the banner of Montrose against the northern Royalists. His 
grandson, Charles, fourth Lord Fraser, was a Jacobite, and in 
1693 was tried before the High Court of Justiciary in Edinburgh, 
for proclaiming King James at Fraserburgh, for drinking his health 
and that of his son, and cursing King William and his adherents. 
He was found guilty only of drinking the healths of the expelled 
monarch and his son, and was fined two hundred pounds for the 
offence. Lord Fraser took the oaths and his seat in Parliament 
2nd July, 1695; and in the Parliament of 1706 he supported the 
union with England. But his Jacobite principles were only latent, 
not extinguished, and he took part in the rebellion of 17 15. After 
its suppression he contrived to escape arrest by remaining in hiding. 
He lost his life in 1720 by a fall from a precipice near Banff. He 
left no issue, and his title has not been claimed. He bequeathed his 
estate of Castle Fraser to the children of his wife, daughter of the 
seventh Earl of Buchan, by her first husband, Sir Simon Fraser of 


HE Gordons are one of the oldest and most illustrious of 
the historical families of Scotland, and from the twelfth 
century down to the present day have taken a very 
prominent part in public affairs. They have shed their 
blood like water for their sovereign and country, at home and 
abroad, on the scaffold and the battlefield. They have earned 
distinction both as statesmen and warriors, and have .filled the 
highest offices in the Church and the State. Their exploits have 
been commemorated in song, and ballad, and tradition, as well 
as in the historic records of the country ; and several members 
of the family have acquired an honourable position among Scottish 
authors. 'O send Lewie Gordon hame,' 'Kenmure's on and 
awa,' ' Cauld Kail in Aberdeen,' and ' Tullochgorum,' represent 
different phases of the character of the 'gay Gordons,'* gallant as 
gay. They claim a share in the poetry of Byron, whose mother 
was a Gordon ; and the ' Genealogical History of the Family of 
Sutherland,' ' The History of the Ancient, Noble, and Illustrious 
Family of Gordon,' and the ' Itinerarium Septentrionale ' of ' Sandy 

* This designation seems to have been given to the Gordons at an early period, 
probably from the vivacity and sprightliness of their manners. It is often ascribed 
to them in old ballads. In one of the versions of the Battle of Otterburn, in which Sir 
John of Gordon was slain, it is said that Douglas — 

' Has chosen the Lindsays light, 
With them the Gordons gay.' 

In the ballad of Glailogie, where Lady Jean asks the name of the young noble who 
had attracted her attention, she is told — 

' He is of the gay Gordons; his name it is John]' 

and it is added, that when informed of the lady's preference for him — 

' He turned about lightly, as the Gordons does a'.' 

The ladies of the Gordon family have long been noted for the elegant shape of 
the neck. 

The Gordons. 293 

Gordon,' besides numerous treatises, historical, classical, and theo- 
logical, attest the learning and are the fruits of the grave studies 
of the Gordons. The ' Gordon Highlanders,' raised among the 
clan and led by their chief, have carried the British standard to 
victory on many a well-fought field, in Holland and Egypt, in Spain 
and Belgium, at Corunna, Quatre Bras, and Waterloo; and the 
chiefs of the various branches of the house have been among the 
bravest and most skilful officers in the British army. 

There are few of the ancient families of Scotland respecting whose 
origin so many absurd and fabulous stories have been told as of the 
Gordons. According to one account, they came from Greece into 
Gaul, and thence into Scotland, at least a thousand years ago. 
Another fabulist traces their origin to Spain, and a third to 
Flanders. Some writers affirm that the Gordons are descended from 
Bertrand de Gourdon, who, in 1199, wounded mortally with an arrow 
Richard Cceur de Lion, while he was besieging the castle of Chalons 
in the Limoees. But there can be no doubt that the Gordons were 
originally from Normandy, and that the founder of the Scottish 
branch of the family came into Scotland in the reign of David I. 
(it 24 — 53), from whom he received a grant of the lands of 
Gordon. There is a tradition that the first of the name came from 
Kngland in the davs of Malcolm Canmore, and that, as a reward for 
his services in killing a wild boar which infested the Borders, he 
received from that monarch a grant of land in the Merse of Berwick- 
shire, which he called Gordon after his own name, and settling there, 
he assumed a boar's head for his armorial bearings in commem- 
oration of his exploit. In all probability the story was invented 
to account for the arms of the family, and its founder was much 
more likely to have styled himself ' de Gordon ' after his lands, than 
to have given his name to the place where he settled. 

The ancestor of the Gordons had two sons, Richard and Adam. 
Richard, the elder, who died in the year 1200, appears ro have 
been a liberal benefactor to the monastery of Kelso. His son 
confirmed by charter his grants of land, and his grandson increased 
them, and gave lands also to the monks of Coldstream. He died in 
1285 without male issue, and his only daughter, Alice, married her 
cousin, Adam de Gordon, the son of Adam the younger brother of 
Richard, and thus united the two branches of the family. This 
Adam is said to have accompanied Louis of France in his crusade 
for the recovery of the Holy Sepulchre, in 1270, and to have died 

294 The Great Historic Families of Scotland, 

during - the expedition. His son, who was also named Adam, was a 
supporter of Baliol in his contest with Bruce for the crown, but he 
died before the commencement of the War of Independence. 

His son, Sir Adam de Gordon, was one of the most powerful 
nobles of his time, and took a prominent part in the struggle for 
national freedom. He was at the outset an adherent of John 
Baliol, but after the death of that unfortunate monarch, Sir 
Adam gave in his adhesion to Robert Bruce. He was sent as 
ambassador to the papal court to submit to the Pope the spirited 
memorial prepared by the Parliament in 1320, in vindication of the 
freedom and independence of their country, and succeeded in 
persuading the Roman Pontiff to suspend the publication of his 
sentence of excommunication and interdict, and to address an 
epistle to the English king recommending him to conclude a peace 
with Scotland. As a reward for his important services, Sir Adam 
received from Robert Bruce a grant of the forfeited estate of David 
de Strathbogie, Earl of Athole ; but that nobleman, having returned 
to his allegiance, was allowed to retain possession of his lands. 

Sir Adam was killed at the battle of Halidon Hill, in 1333. He 
was succeeded by Alexander, the eldest of his four sons, who 
fought with great gallantry by his father's side, and was one of the 
few nobles who escaped from that fatal field. He is said to have 
fallen at the battle of Durham, October 17th, 1346, but his name 
does not appear in the list of the slain given by Lord Hailes. His 
son, Sir John, was present at that engagement, and was taken 
prisoner, along with King David. He was detained in captivity in 
England until 1357. 

The Earl of Athole, who was noted for his rapacity and cruelty, 
once more joined the English invaders, in 1335, Dut was defeated by 
Sir Andrew Moray, the Regent, at Kilblane, near Braemar, and was 
killed in the battle. His estates were then finally forfeited, and in 
1376 Sir John de Gordon, the son of the Sir John who was captured 
at Durham, obtained from Robert II. a new charter of the lands of 
Strathbogie. The Gordon clan were thus transferred from the 
Borders to the Highlands, though they continued to possess their 
original estates in Berwickshire till the beginning of the fifteenth 
century. Their northern domain and lordship received the name of 
Huntly from a small village near Gordon, and their title was taken 
from it when the family was raised to the peerage. Sir John de 

The Gordons. 295 

Gordon was a redoubted warrior, and many of his exploits are 

narrated in the Border annals and traditions of his age. 

In 137 1-2 the English Borderers invaded and plundered the 

lands of Gordon. Sir John retaliated as usual by an incursion into 

Northumberland, where he laid waste and plundered the country. 

But as he returned with his booty, he was attacked unawares by Sir 

John Lilburn, a Northumbrian baron, who, with a greatly superior 

force, lay in ambush near Carham to intercept him. Gordon 

harangued and cheered his followers, charged the English gallantly, 

and, after having himself been five times in great peril, gained a 

complete victory, taking the English commander and his brother 

captive. According to Wyntoun, Sir John was desperately wounded, 

but — 

* The're rayse a welle grete renowne, 
And gretly prysyd wes gude Gordown.' 

Shortly after this exploit Sir John of Gordon encountered and 
defeated Sir Thomas Musgrave, a renowned English knight, whom 
he made prisoner. Wyntoun says of Sir John and the Laird of 
Johnston, another celebrated Borderer — 

• He and the Lord of Gordown 
Had a soverane gude renown 
Of ony that war of thare degre*, 
For full that war of grete bounteV 

Sir John and his clan fought at the battle of Otterburn in 1587, 
under the banner of the Earl of Douglas, and, along with his 
renowned leader, he lost his life in that fiercely-contested conflict.* 

Lord John left three sons, the two younger of whom were known 
in tradition by the familiar names of Jock and Tarn, The former 
was the ancestor of the Gordons of Pitlurg ; the latter of those of 
Lesmoir and of Craig-Gordon. 

His eldest son, Sir Adam de Gordon, a young noble con- 
spicuous for his gallantry, fell at the battle of Homildon Hill. 
When the English archers were pouring their volleys with deadly 
effect on the closely wedged ranks of the Scottish spearmen, who 
were falling by hundreds, Sir John Swinton, a brave Border knight 
of gigantic stature, well advanced in years, exclaimed, ' Why stand 
we here to be shot like deer and marked down by the enemy ? 
Where is our wonted courage ? Are we to be still and have our 
* Ridpath's Border History. Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border. 

296 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

hands nailed to our lances? Follow me, and let us at least sell our 
lives as dearly as we can.' This gallant proposal won the admi- 
ration of Adam de Gordon, whose family were at deadly feud with 
that of Swinton, and throwing himself from his horse and kneeling 
down before him, he said, ' I have not been knighted, and never can 
I take the honour from the hand of a truer, more loyal, more valiant 
leader. Grant me the boon I ask, and I unite my forces to yours, 
that we may live and die together.' Swinton cordially complied with 
Gordon's request, and after having hastily performed the ceremony, 
he tenderly embraced his late foe. The two knights then mounted 
their horses, and, at the head of a hundred horsemen, charged 
fiercely on the English host ; but, unsupported by their countrymen, 
the little band, with its gallant leaders, were overpowered and slain. 

Sir Adam was succeeded in his estates by his only child, Eliza- 
beth Gordon, who became the wife of Alexander de Seton, 
second son of Sir William de Seton of Seton. He assumed the 
name of Gordon, was styled Lord Gordon and Huntly, and carried 
on the line of the family. He had two sons by the heiress of the 
Gordons. Alexander, the eldest, was created Earl of Huntly 
in 1449. He was a good deal employed in embassies and nego- 
tiations at the English court. During the rebellion of the Douglases 
Huntly was appointed by James II. (who placed great confidence in 
his integrity and judgment) lieutenant-general of the kingdom, 
and was intrusted with the difficult task of suppressing the rebellion 
of the Earls of Crawford and Ross, who had entered into a treason- 
able association with the Earl of Douglas. Marching northward 
with a powerful army under the royal standard, he encountered 
Crawford, at the head of his retainers and vassals, on a moor about 
two miles north-east of Brechin. The battle was fiercely contested, 
and for a considerable time the issue was very doubtful ; but 
it was decided against the Tiger Earl, as Crawford was called, by 
the desertion in the heat of the fight of one of his most trusted 
vassals, Collace of Balnamoon, at the head of three hundred men. 
Huntly lost two of his brothers, and Gordon of Methlic, ancestor 
of the Earl of Aberdeen, in this sanguinary conflict. A brother of 
Crawford, and sixty other lords and gentlemen who fought on his 
side, were among the slain. The Earl and his discomfited followers 
fled to Finhaven Castle. On alighting from his horse, the savage 
Earl called for a cup of wine, and declared with an oath that ' he 

The Gordons. 2<^i 

wad be content to hang seven years in hell by the breers o' the 
e'en [eyelashes] to gain such a victory as had that day fallen to 

The Earl of Moray, one of the brothers of the Earl of Douglas, 
in revenge for Crawford's defeat, burned Huntly's castle of Strath- 
bogie and ravaged his estates, and he shortly after surprised and 
defeated a body of the Gordons in a morass called Dunkinty. This 
repulse is commemorated in a jeering song which runs thus : — 

'Where did you leave your men, 
Thou Gordon so gay ? 
In the bog of Dunkinty, 
Mowing the hay.' 

Lord Huntly died 15th July, 1470, and was buried at Elgin. He 
was three times married. His first wife, daughter of Robert de 
Keith, grandson of the Great Marischal of Scotland, brought him a 
fine estate but no children. His second wife, who was daughter and 
heiress of Sir John Hay of Tullibody, bore to him a son, Sir Alex- 
ander Seton, who inherited his mother's estate, and was ancestor of 
the Setons of Touch. The Earl's third wife, a daughter of Lord 
Crichton, High Chancellor of Scotland, bore to him three sons and 
three daughters. The title and estates were settled bv charter on 
the issue of this third marriage, and the eldest son succeeded his 
father in 1470. 

George, second Earl of Huntly, was appointed, with the Earl 
of Crawford, joint justiciary of the country beyond the Forth. He 
was a member of the Privy Council of James III. Though he 
was an accomplice of Bell-the-Cat and the other disaffected barons 
in the murder of the roval favourites at Lauder, in the final 
struggle between them and James, Huntly supported the cause of 
that unfortunate sovereign, and, along with the Earl of Athole, com- 
manded the vanguard of the roval armv in the battle of Sauchie- 
burn, where the King lost his life. James IV., however, seems to 
have entertained no hostile feelings towards the Earl, for in 149 1 he 
nominated him his lieutenant in the northern parts of Scotland 
beyond the North Esk river ; and, in 1498, he appointed Huntly High 
Chancellor of Scotland. He resigned this office in 1502, and died 
soon after. The Earl was twice married. His first wife, Annabella, 
daughter of James I., bore to him six daughters and five sons. His 

* Lives oj the Lindsays, i. 137. 

298 The Great Historic Families of Scotland, 

eldest son became third Earl. His second son, Adam, married 
Elizabeth, Countess of Sutherland, and became Earl of Sutherland 
in her right. William, third son, was the ancestor of the Gordons 
of Gight, from whom Lord Byron was descended. James Gordon of 
Letterfourie, the fourth, was admiral of the fleet in 15 13. Lady 
Catherine, the eldest daughter of Lord Huntly, who was regarded as 
the most beautiful and accomplished woman in Scotland, was given 
in marriage by the King to Perkin Warbeck, whose claims to the 
English throne he warmly supported. She accompanied that adven- 
turer to England; after his execution King Henry granted her 
a pension, and assigned her a post of honour at the English Court, 
where she was known by the name of the White Rose of Scotland. 
Lady Catherine afterwards married Sir Matthew Cradock, an 
ancestor of the Pembroke family. The Earl had no issue by his 
second wife, a daughter of the first Earl of Errol. 

Alexander, third Earl of Huntly, according to Holinshed, was 
held in the highest reputation of all the Scottish nobility for his 
valour, joined with wisdom and policy. He contributed greatly 
to the suppression of a rebellion in the Isles in 1505, and in the fol- 
lowing year he stormed the castle of Stornoway, in Lewis, the strong- 
hold of Torquil Macleod, the leader of the insurgents. The Earl, 
along with Lord Home, commanded the left wing of the Scottish 
army at the battle of Flodden, 9th September, 15 13, and overpowered 
and threw into disorder the division commanded by Sir Edward 
Howard. The Earl and his brother, the Earl of Sutherland, were 
among the few Scottish nobles who returned in safety from that fatal 
field, but Sir William Gordon of Gight was among the slain, as 
was also Alexander Gordon, heir-apparent of Lochinvar. When the 
Queen-Dowager was appointed Regent of the kingdom, the Parlia- 
ment resolved that she should be guided by the counsels of Huntly, 
along with Angus and the Archbishop of Glasgow. During the 
minority of James V. Huntly' s authority was predominant in the north. 
When the Duke of Albany left the country in 15 17, the Earl was 
nominated one of the Council of Regency, and, in the following year, 
he was appointed the royal lieutenant over all Scotland, except the 
West Highlands. He died at Paris, 16th January, 1524. By his 
first wife, a daughter of John, Earl of Athole, uterine brother of 
James IV., the Earl had four sons and two daughters. By his second 
wife, a daughter of Lord Gray, he had no issue. His eldest son, 

The Gordons. 299 

George, died young - . John, his second son, also predeceased him, 
leaving two sons by his wife Margaret, an illegitimate daughter of 
James IV. Alexander, his third son, was ancestor of the Gordons 
of Cluny ; and the fourth, William, was Bishop of Aberdeen from 
1547 to his death in 1577. 

Bishop Gordon has obtained an unenviable notoriety for his im- 
moral life and his alienation of the revenues of his diocese. Spot- 
tiswood says : — ' This man, brought up in letters at Aberdeen, 
followed his studies a long time in Paris, and returning thence was 
first, parson of Clat, and afterwards promoted to the See. Some 
hopes he gave at first of a virtuous man, but afterwards turned a 
very epicure, spending all his time in drinking and whoring. He 
dilapidated the whole rents by feuing the land, and converting the 
victual-duties in money, a great part whereof he wasted upon his base 
children and their mothers.' The registers of the diocese fully bear 
out these severe statements respecting the conduct of this unworthy 
prelate. Mention is made in them of no fewer than forty-nine 
* charters of assedation ' of various portions of the land belonging to 
the bishopric granted by him during the course of a single year — 
1549. The Dean and Chapter of Aberdeen, in a memorial of advice 
presented to Bishop Gordon in January, 1558, ' humbly and heartily 
pray and exhort my lord, their ordinary, for the honour of God, relief 
of his own conscience, and weil of his diocese, and the eviting of great 
scandal, that his lordship will be so good as to show edicative 
example ; in special in removing and discharging himself of the 
company of the gentlewoman by whom he is greatly slandered ; with- 
out the which be done, divers that are partners say they cannot 
accept counsel and correction of him who will not correct himself.'* 

This really affecting appeal, however, had no effect on the bishop. 
On the 20th October, 1565, he granted a charter of the lands of 
North Spittal to Janet Knowles (probably ' the gentlewoman by 
whom he was greatly slandered ') in life-rents, and to his children, 
George, John, and William, Elizabeth, Margaret, and Martha Gor- 
don, in feu.f 

George, fourth Earl of Huntly, eldest son of Lord John Gordon, 
succeeded his grandfather in 1524, when only ten years of age. He 
was educated along with James V., his maternal uncle, and was care- 
fully instructed by the best masters. His frequent intercourse with 
* Registrum Episcopatus Aberdonensis, i. ; preface, lvii. t Ibid. lxv. 

3GO The (Jreat Historic Families of Scotland. 

the Court of France not only polished his manners, but gave him an 
insight into the inner machinery of public government. At an early 
age he filled several important offices, and in 1537 he was appointed 
Lieutenant-general of the country beyond the Forth. The Earl was 
possessed of almost regal influence in the north, which he frequently 
exercised in an arbitrary and tyrannical manner. He took a very 
prominent part in public affairs during the reign of James V. and 
his unfortunate daughter Mary. In July, 1542, he defeated, at 
Haddon Rig, near Kelso, Sir Robert Bowes, Warden of the East 
Marches, who was ravaging Teviotdale at the head of three thousand 
men, and took six hundred prisoners, including Bowes himself, with 
his brother and several other persons of note. This defeat so enraged 
King Henry that he sent an expedition consisting of thirty thou- 
sand men into Scotland, under the Duke of Norfolk, with orders 
to lay waste the country ; but they were kept in check by Huntly 
with a force only a third of that number, and were ultimately com- 
pelled to retreat to Berwick. 

After the death of King James, Huntly was constituted Lieu- 
tenant-general of all the Highlands, and of Orkney and Shetland. 
In May, 1544, he marched with a numerous army, reinforced by 
Lord Lovat and the Frasers, against the clan Cameron and the 
Macdonalds of Clanranald, who were plundering Glenmoriston, 
Strathglass, and the whole adjoining district. At his approach 
they retired to their own territories. But as soon as Huntly had 
separated from the Frasers to return home, they were attacked 
by the Macdonalds at Loch Lochy, and so fierce was the conflict, that 
only two combatants on the one side and four on the other survived. 
Huntly lost no time in retracing his steps, and after laying waste 
the district, he apprehended and put to death a number of the 
leading men of the rebellious tribes. 

The Earl was appointed High Chancellor of Scotland in 1546. 
He commanded the vanguard at the battle of Pinkie, 10th Sep- 
tember, 1547, and was taken prisoner by the English. He was first 
sent to London, but was subsequently removed to Morpeth Castle. 
He promised that, if allowed to return home, he would join the 
English party and forward the project of marriage between the 
young Scottish queen and King Edward. He did not mislike the 
match so much, he said, as the manner of wooing. His offer does 
not appear to have been accepted; probably its sincerity was 
doubted. Among the papers, however, in Gordon Castle, there are 

The Gordons. 30 1 

covenants between Huntly and the Protector Somerset which show 
that the Earl had agreed to promote the project of an English 
marriage and alliance, while he was at the same time regarded as 
the main support of the Roman Catholic party, who were bent on 
an alliance and marriage with France. He succeeded in making 
his escape from his prison, in 1548, by the assistance of George 
Car, a well-known Borderer. ' George Car,' says the family historian, 
' came at the appointed time with two horses, the best the Borderers 
could afford for the purpose, the one being for the Earl and the 
other for his servant. The appointed night he prepares a good 
supper for his keepers, and invites them solemnly to it, and to 
play at cards, to put off the tediousness of the night. At length, 
as if he had been weary of playing, he left off, entreating them to 
continue ; and, going to the window, he did by a secret sign 
observe that all things were ready for his escape, tho' the night was 
extremely dark. He began then to be doubtful, sometimes in hope, 
and other times in fear. At last, without thinking, he burst out into 
this speech, A dark night, a wearied knight; God be the Guide. The 
keepers, hearing him speaking to himself, asked what he meant 
by that? He answered that these words were used as a proverb 
among the Scots, and had their beginning from the old Earl of 
Morton uttering the same in the middle of the night, when he lay 
a-dying. Whereupon, that his keepers might have no suspicion of 
his designed escape, he sitteth down again to cards, after which he 
suddenly rose from them on the plea of necessity, and went suddenly 
out with his servant, found the horses furnished by George Car 
ready, which he and his servant immediately mounted, and on them, 
with all possible speed, fled to the Scot's Borders.' * 

Huntly was now the recognised head of the Roman Catholic 
party in Scotland, and when the marriage of Queen Mary to the 
Dauphin of France was proposed, he received the order of St. 
Michael from the French King, and, in 1549, he obtained a grant 
of the earldom of Moray. 

The severity of Huntly's proceedings against the Highland 
clans had excited a strong feeling of revenge, and a plot was 
formed for his assassination. Mackintosh, the chief of the clan 
Chattan, who had been liberally educated by the Earl of Moray, 
Huntly's enemy, was at the head of this conspiracy. The plot 

* The History of the Ancient, Noble, and Illustrious Family of Gordon. By Mr. Wil- 
liam Gordon of Old Aberdeen, i. 171, 172. 

302 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

being discovered, Huntly caused Mackintosh to be apprehended 
and beheaded at Strathbogie. 

In 1554 a violent outbreak took place on the part of the chief 
of Clanranald, accompanied as usual with rapine and bloodshed, 
and Huntly was entrusted by the Queen- Regent with full powers to 
bring the offenders to justice. The expedition, however, was unsuc- 
cessful, mainly in consequence of dissensions among the Earl's 
followers, and its failure was attributed to his own mismanagement. 
He was, in consequence, apprehended and committed to prison, was 
deprived of all his offices, and was sentenced to be banished to 
France for five years. He was at the same time compelled to 
renounce the earldom of Moray, and the lordship of Abernethy, with 
his leases and possessions in Orkney and Shetland. The sentence 
of banishment, however, was recalled by the Queen-Regent and 
commuted for a heavy fine, and he was restored to his office of 
Chancellor, of which he had been deprived. 

During the fierce contentions between Mary of Guise and the 
Lords of the Congregation, Huntly repeatedly interposed, in order 
to prevent hostilities. On her behalf he signed the agreement with 
them which led to their evacuation of Edinburgh, but, shortly after, 
he entered into a bond with the Duke of Chatelherault, and the 
other Lords of the Congregation, for the support of the Reformation 
and the expulsion of the French troops from the kingdom. It need 
excite no surprise that in these circumstances the Queen-Regent, 
in her last interview with the lords, warned them against the crafty 
and interested advice of the Earl of Huntly. 

The power of the Gordon family had now reached its greatest 
height. They had succeeded to the vast influence of the old Earls 
of Ross ; and the ' Cock of the North,' as the head of the house was 
termed, exercised almost supreme authority over the vast territory 
to the north and west of Aberdeen, extending from the Dee as far 
as the chain of lakes which now form the Caledonian Canal. They 
possessed also large estates on the fertile east coast of Scotland, 
which were cultivated by an industrious Lowland tenantry, furnishing 
them with the means of living in princely state at their castle of 
Strathbogie, and of maintaining a numerous body of armed retainers. 
The Earls of Huntly were not only the chiefs of a clan, but the heads 
of a party almost strong enough to cope with royalty, and the great 
offices of Lieutenant-General of all the Highlands, King's Lieutenant 
over all Scotland, and Lord High Chancellor, which were held by 

The Gordons. 303 

several of them in succession, added largely to their already overgrown 
power. They possessed a vast number of bonds of man-rent, friend- 
ship, and alliance, given to them not only by the minor houses of 
their own kindred, but by most of the leading families in the north of 
Scotland, dating from 1444 to 1670, which testify, in a very unmis- 
takable way, the enormous following which could be relied on by 
the chiefs of the Gordons in all emergencies. 

The earliest of these bonds — a hundred and seven in all — was given 
in 1444 by James of Forbes, who ' becomes man till ane honourable 
and mighty Lord, Alexander of Seton of Gordon.' Among the im- 
portant and influential persons who, in subsequent times, gave similar 
bonds to Huntly, was the Earl of Argyll, who, in 1583, promised to 
1 concur and take aefeld, true, and plain part ' with the chief of the 
Gordons, ' in all his honest and guid causes, against whatsomever that 
live or die may, our sovereign lord and his authority alone excepted.' 
In 1587, Rattray of Craighall binds himself and his dependents 
* to serve the said Earl in all his actions and adoes, against all 
persons, the King's Majesty only excepted, and sail neither hear nor 
see his skaith, but sail make him foreseen therewith, and sail resist 
the same sae far as in me lies, and that in respect the same Earl has 
given me his bond of maintenance.' Similar engagements were 
entered into by Macleod of Lewis, Colin of Kintail, chief of the 
clan Mackenzie; Munro of Foulis, Glengarry, Macgregor of Glen - 
strae, Drummond of Blair, Donald Gorm of Sleat, progenitor of 
the present Lord Macdonald ; Grant of Freuchie, Lady Menzies of 
Weem, the Earl of Orkney, Lord Lovat, Lord Spynie, Cameron of 
Lochiel, Menzies of that ilk, Menzies of Pitfodels, the Laird of Luss, 
Mackintosh of Dunnachtan, Innes of Innermarky, the Laird of Mel- 
gund, the clan Macpherson, and numerous other powerful chiefs 
and lairds.* 

The rental of the widespread lands of the chief of the Gordons was, 
of course, correspondingly large, though a great portion of it was 
paid in kind, as was shown by an incident which occurred in 1556. In 
that year the Queen-Dowager, on a progress to the northern part of 
the country, was sumptuously entertained by Huntly in his castle of 
Strathbogie, which he had recently enlarged and adorned at a great 
expense. After a stay of some days, the Queen, apprehensive that 
her prolonged visit, with her large retinue, might put her host to 
ino)nvenience, proposed to take her departure. Huntly, however, 
* Gordon Papers, Spalding Club Misc., iv. 123 — 319. 

304 The Great Historic Families of Scot 'land. 

entreated her to remain, which she agreed to do. On expressing a 
wish to inspect the cellars and storehouses which furnished the 
bounteous cheer provided for her, she was shown, among other 
stores of food of every sort, an enormous quantity of wildfowl and 
venison. The Frenchmen in the Oueen's retinue asked how and 
whence a supply so vast and yet so fresh was procured, and were 
informed by the Earl that he had relays of hunters and fowlers 
dispersed in the mountains, woods, and remote places of his 
domains, who daily forwarded to his castle the game which they 
caught, however distant their quarters might be. D'Oisel, on 
hearing this reply, remarked to the Queen that such a man was not 
to be tolerated in so small and poor a kingdom as Scotland, and 
that his wings ought to be clipped before he became too arrogant. * 
In the contest between the Reformers and the Romish Church, 
the fourth Earl, unfortunately for himself and his family, resolved 
to stand forth as the leader of the Popish party. During the 
commotions under the regency of the Queen-mother, as we have 
seen, he had acted a temporising part. He at one time assisted 
the Regent in her efforts to carry out the Popish policy dictated 
by her brothers, the Guises. At another he professed to have 
joined the Lords of the Congregation, though he took care to 
give no material aid to the Protestant cause, and was present 
at the famous Parliament of 1560, in which the Romish Church 
was overthrown. He was courted and feared by each of the 
contending parties, as Robertson remarks, and in consequence, 
both connived at his encroachments in the north, and he was thus 
enabled, by a combination of artifice and force, to add every day to 
his already exorbitant power and wealth. But there can be no 
doubt that he had, long before this time, determined to become the 
leader of the Scottish Roman Catholics, in their life and death 
struggle with the Protestants. After the death of the French king, 
Mary's husband, Huntly, in conjunction with some other Romish 
nobles, sent an envoy to the young Queen, to invite her, on her 
return to her own country, to land at Aberdeen, where they were 
prepared to welcome her as the champion of the old faith, with an 
army of twenty thousand men. But Mary was aware that the 
acceptance of this offer would incur the risk of a desperate civil 
war, and that whether it terminated in victory or defeat, it would be 
ruinous to her hopes of gaining the English crown. She therefore 
* First Report of Commission on Historical Manuscripts, 114. 

The Gordons 305 

contented herself with enjoining the envoy to assure the lords and 
prelates who had sent him of her favour towards them, and her 
intention to reside in her kingdom. 

In carrying out the policy which she adopted at this stage, Mary 
chose as her chief counsellor her half-brother, Lord James Stewart, 
the leader of the Protestant lords, and it transpired that she 
intended to create him Earl of Moray. Huntly was deeply offended 
at the favour thus shown to his rival, and especially at the prospect 
of being deprived of the extensive domains attached to the earldom 
of Moray, which had for some years been in his possession. His 
disaffection to the Government was not concealed, and there was 
reason to believe that he was organising his retainers and allies with 
a view to take up arms in support of the ancient faith, as soon as 
a favourable opportunity should present itself. 

In these circumstances the Queen resolved to make a journey to 
the north, no doubt by Moray's advice, though Randolph says it 
was ' rather devised by herself than approved by her council.' In 
the course of this royal progress, which was to terminate at Inver- 
ness, Mary was to visit Huntly at his splendid castle of Strath- 
bogie, by way of doing honour to the northern potentate. It is 
doubtful, however, whether the Earl regarded the proposal quite in 
this light, and it could not suit his purposes that his keen-eyed rival 
should have an opportunity of inspecting closely the state of affairs 
at the headquarters of the Popish party. 

At this time an incident occurred which had an important in- 
fluence on the relations between the Queen and her potent subject. 
In a conflict which took place in the streets of Edinburgh, between 
Sir John Gordon, one of Huntly' s younger sons, and Lord Ogilvy, 
that nobleman was severely wounded, and Gordon was immediately 
arrested and committed to prison. He made his escape, however, 
from the Tolbooth, and took refuge on his estate in the north. His 
mother persuaded him to submit himself to the pleasure of the 
Queen, who ordered him to be conveyed to the castle of Stirling 
On his way thither he repented of his submission, escaped from his 
guards, and gathering a strong body of horsemen, bade defiance to 
the royal authority. 

The Queen set out from Edinburgh on her royal progress 
(nth August, 1562), accompanied by Randolph, the English ambas- 
sador, her brother, Lord James, at that time Earl of Mar, Secretary 
Lethington, and a large body of the nobility. She arrived at Old 

vol. 11. x 

306 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

Aberdeen on the 27th of August. Huntly was evidently afraid to 
trust himself within her power without knowing whether she came 
for a peaceful or a hostile purpose, and he sent his wife to wait on 
her Majesty, and to invite her to his castle of Strathbogie. The 
Queen declined to accept the invitation, on the ground that she 
would not visit the Earl so long as his son was a fugitive from 
justice. Randolph, however, who was the Earl's guest for two 
nights, in a letter to Cecil, says, ' his house is fair, and best furnished 
of any house that I have seen in this country. His cheer is mar- 
vellous great.' There can be no doubt that both the Oueen and 
her chief counsellor ran considerable risk in venturing into the 
Gordon territory, and it transpired that while spending a night in 
the Castle of Balquhain, a stronghold of the Leslies, they both 
narrowly escaped seizure. At Darnaway Castle, the chief mansion 
of the earldom of Moray, a meeting of the Privy Council was held, 
at which the Lord James produced his patent of the earldom of 
Moray, which he exchanged for that of Mar, ' both more honour- 
able,' says Randolph, ' and greater in profit than the other.' The 
conferring this honour upon his rival seems to have driven Huntly 
to despair. He immediately assembled his vassals, and advanced 
with rapid marches towards Aberdeen, with the hope of seizing the 
Queen's person. A party of the royal soldiers were attacked near 
Findlater, one of the Earl's castles, by his son, Sir John Gordon. 
Their leader was captured, a number of them killed, and the rest 
disarmed. ' This fact,' says Knox, ' so inflamed the Queen that all 
hope of reconciliation was past; and so the said Earl of Huntly 
was charged, under pain of putting him to the home, to present him- 
self and the said Sir John before the Queen and Council within six 
days, which charge he disobeyed, and so was pronounced a rebel.' * 
A considerable force had at first assembled round the Gordon 
standard, but the Mackintoshes, whose chief he had beheaded some 
years before, and several other clans that had hitherto submitted to 
the iron rule of Huntly, now availed themselves of the opportunity 
to free themselves from his yoke, under the plea of loyalty. His 
troops thus gradually melted away until they had dwindled down to 
between seven and eight hundred men. On the other hand, the royal 
forces, swelled by the deserters from Huntly' s standard, numbered 
about two thousand. The Earl, however, with the courage of 
despair, assumed the offensive. A conflict took place on the declivity 

* Knox's Works, ii. 354. 

The Gordons. 307 

of a hill called Corrichie, about fifteen or eighteen miles west of 
Aberdeen. On the first attack, the clans that had passed from 
Huntly to the Queen took to flight ; but Moray restored the battle, 
which terminated in the complete defeat of the insurgents. The 
Earl himself was found dead on the field — smothered, it was said, in 
his armour, owing to his corpulence, and the pressure of the crowd 
of fugitives and pursuers.* Two of his sons, Sir John and Adam 
Gordon, were taken prisoners. The latter, who was only eighteen 
years of age, was pardoned on account of his youth ; but, three 
days after the battle, Sir John, who was regarded as the chief cause 
of the rebellion, was beheaded at Aberdeen. Buchanan says, ' he 
was generally pitied and lamented, for he was a noble youth, 
very beautiful, and entering on the prime of his age.' He was 
said to have aspired to the hand of the Queen, and it is alleged 
that on this account, at the instance of Moray, she witnessed his 

There can be no doubt that Huntly had meditated the most violent 
measures against his sovereign. Randolph states in a letter to 
Cecil that ' Sir John Gordon confessed his treasonable designs, but 
laid the burden of them on his father ; that two confidential servants 
of that nobleman, Thomas Ker and his brother, acknowledged that 
their master, on three several occasions, had plotted to cut off Moray 
and Lethington ; and that the Queen herself, in a conversation with 
Randolph, thanked God for having delivered her enemy into her 
hand. She declared,' he says, ' many a shameful and detestable 
part that he thought to have used against her, as to have married 
her where he would, to have slain her brother, and whom other he 
liked ; the places, the times, where it should have been done ; and 
how easy matter it was, if God had not preserved her.' 

Lord George Gordon, Huntly' s eldest surviving son, was shortly 
after apprehended in the Lowlands, and having been brought to 
trial for treason, was found guilty and condemned to death, but was 
respited, and committed a prisoner to the castle of Dunbar. 

The movables in Huntly' s splendid mansion of Strath bogie were 

* One of the numerous misstatements, to use the mildest term, of Bishop Leslie, is 
to the effect that Huntly was taken prisoner and put to death by Moray's order. In 
accordance with the barbarous law and practice of the time, Huntly's dead body was 
embowelled and roughly embalmed, in order that it might be brought to Edinburgh, to 
the meeting of Parliament, where sentence of forfeiture was pronounced upon him. 
Leslie, who must have known better, says this was done because Moray's hatred of all 
good men prompted him to insult even their remains. 

308 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

divided between the Queen and the Earl of Moray. The inventory 
of the Queen's share has been preserved, and, as Dr. Stuart 
remarks, it enables us to realise the grandeur of Huntly's style of 
living - , as well as his taste and refinement. The beds carried from 
Strathbogie to Holyrood were of rich velvets, with ornaments and 
fringes of gold and silver work ; many pieces of tapestry, vessels of 
gilded or coloured glass, figures of animals, and images of a monk 
and nun, the marble bust of a man, and a wooden carving of the 
Samaritan woman at the well, were items in the list. 

It is startling to learn that several of the most costly articles of 
which Queen Mary had thus despoiled her unfortunate subject were 
employed to deck the apartments in the Kirk of Field which were 
hastily fitted up for Darnley when he was brought from Glasgow to 
the place selected for his murder. The hall was hung with five pieces 
of tapestry, part of the plunder of Strathbogie. The walls of the 
king's chamber on the upper floor were hung with six pieces of 
tapestry, which, like the hangings of the wall, had been spoiled 
from the Gordons after Corrichie. There were two or three cushions 
of red velvet, a high chair covered with purple velvet, and a little 
table with a broad cloth, or cover of green velvet, also brought from 

At the first meeting of Parliament, Huntly's vast estates were con- 
fiscated to the Crown, and the potent house of Gordon was reduced 
at once to insignificance and penury. Such a signal overthrow of 
one of the greatest territorial magnates in the kingdom was regarded 
by the Protestants as a signal judgment upon him for his hos- 
tility to the good cause. John Knox, in pointing the moral of 
Huntly's downfall, for the benefit of the courtiers, said, referring to 
the Earl's public deportment, ' Have ye not seen ane greater than 
any of ye, sit picking his nails and pull down his bonnet over his 
eyes when idolatry, witchcraft, murder, oppression, and such vices 
were rebuked ? Was not his common talk, " When the knaves have 
railed their fill they will hold their peace" ? Have you not heard 
it affirmed in his own face that God should revenge that his blas- 
phemy, even in the eyes of such as were witness to his iniquity ? 
Then was the Earl of Huntly accused by you as the maintainer of 
idolatry and only hinderer of all good order. Him has God punished 
even according to His threatenings, that his and your ears heard, 
and by your hands hath God executed his judgments.' * 

* Knox's Works, ii. 362. 

The Gordons. 309 

In no long time, however, the house of Gordon rose again from 
its ruins with undiminished splendour and power. 

By his countess, a granddaughter of the third Earl Marischal, 
Lord Huntly had nine sons and three daughters. Alexander, the 
eldest, who married a daughter of the Duke of Chatelherault, died 
without issue in 1553. George, the second son, became fifth Earl. 
Of the other sons, one was a Jesuit and died at Paris, in 1626. Sir 
Adam of Auchindoun, the sixth son, whom Queen Mary pardoned, 
was long a staunch and powerful supporter of her cause in the 
north. On the gth of October, 1571, he defeated the Forbeses, the 
hereditary enemies of the Gordons, and the opponents of the Queen's 
party, with the loss of a hundred and twenty men. Two hundred 
hagbuteers were despatched by the Regent to the assistance of the 
Forbeses, but, in a second encounter, at the ' Craibstane,' near 
Aberdeen, they were again defeated by Gordon : three hundred of 
them were killed, and two hundred, along with the Master of Forbes, 
were taken prisoners. ' But,' says a contemporary chronicler, ' what 
glory and renown he (Auchindoun) obtained by these two victories, 
was all casten down by the infamy of his next attempt ; for, imme- 
diately after his last conflict, he directed his soldiers to the castle of 
Towie, desiring the house to be rendered to him in the Queen's 
name, whilk was obstinately refused by the lady, and she burst out 
with certain injurious words. And the soldiers, being impatient, by 
command of their leader, Captain Ker, fire was put to the house, 
whence she and the number of twenty-seven persons were cruelly 
burnt to the death.' 

This atrocious deed has been commemorated in the beautiful and 
touching ballad entitled ' Edom o' Gordon.'* The Laird of Towie 

* The description, by the unknown poet, of the scene in which the mother and her 
children appear, as they see the flames climbing up the battlements and the smoke 
closing around them, as Mr. Murray remarks, is perhaps unsurpassed in popular poetry ; 
while the picture of the beautiful dead face, smiting even the ruffian soldier with a 
feeling which he cannot bear, is sketched as if by the hand of Nature herself ; — 

' O then bespake her youngest son, 

Sat on the nurse's knee ; 
" O mother dear, gie ower your house, 

For the reek it smothers me." 

" I wad gie a' my gowd, my bairn, 
Sae wad I gie my fee, 
For ae blast o' the westlan' wind 
To blaw the reek frae thee." 

310 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

Castle, one of the chiefs of the Forbes family, was from home when 
his mansion and family were thus ruthlessly destroyed. The ballad 
represents him as pursuing the murderers, and states that only five 
of them escaped his vengeance. There is, unfortunately, no reason 
to believe that they met with the condign punishment which their 
shocking crime deserved. As Sir Adam Gordon retained Ker in his 
service after this inhuman deed, he was regarded by the public as 
equally guilty.* 

Sir Patrick, the seventh son of the Earl of Huntly, was killed at 
the battle of Glenlivet, in 1594. 

The Earl's second daughter, Lady Jean, had a memorable career. 
She married, on 22nd February, 1566, the notorious Earl of Both- 

O then bespake her dochter dear — 
She was baith jimp and sma' — 
" O row me in a pair o' sheets, 
And tow me ower the wa\" 

They rowed her in a pair o' sheets, 

And towed her ower the wa', 
But on the point of Edom's spear 

She got a deadly fa'. 

bonny, bonny was her mouth, 
And cherry were her cheeks, 

And clear, clear was her yellow hair, 
Whereon the red bluid dreeps. 

Then wi' his spear he turned her ower \ 

gin her face was wan ! 

He said, " Ye are the first that e'er 

1 wished alive again." 

He turned her ower and ower again, 
O gin her skin was white ! 
u I might hae spared that bonny face 
To been some man's delight. 

" Brisk and boun my merry men all, 
For ill dooms I do guess : 

1 canna look in that bonnie face, 
As it lies on the grass." ' 

TJie Ballads and Songs of Scotland. By J. Clark Murray, LL.D. 

* Among the papers in the charter-chest of Lord Forbes at Castle Forbes, there is 
a pungent Latin epigram, written by James Forbes of Corsinday, in 162 1, which 
shows the bitter feeling that the Forbeses cherished towards the Gordons. Referring to 
the armorial bearings of the Gordon family, it represents the Gordons as boasting that 
they had performed an exploit which equalled one of Hercules. True, they had both 
killed a boar, but the one was a fierce wild beast, the other was a domestic pig. The 
one was a devourer of men, the other fed only on refuse. There was as great a difference 
between the exploit of the Gordons and that of Hercules, as there was between these 
two animals. — Second Report of the Historical MSS. Commission, 194. 

The Gordons 3 1 1 

well; but, in 1567, her marriage was annulled, in order to allow 
him to become the third husband of Queen Mary. This was done 
on the plea that he was related to Lady Jean within the prohibited 
degrees of consanguinity, and that no dispensation had been 
obtained from the Pope sanctioning their union. It was suspected 
at the time that a dispensation had been given by the Papal legate, 
the Archbishop of St. Andrews, the same prelate that declared the 
marriage null and void from the beginning, and indeed it was 
asserted by the commissioners at Westminster, that the sentence of 
nullity ' for consanguenitie standing betwixt Bothwell and his wiff 
precedit oralie becaus the dispensation was abstracted.' This has 
now been proved to be the case, by the discovery of this important 
document at Dunrobin. It must, therefore, have all along been in 
the possession of Lady Jean Gordon, who must, of course, have 
withheld it by collusion. The motives which led to the suppression 
of the dispensation by her and her family are very obvious. Her 
brother, the Earl of Huntly, was closely connected with the Queen 
at this juncture, and his family estates, which had been forfeited by 
his father in 1562, were formally restored and his forfeiture rescinded 
on the 19th of April, the very day on which he and other nobles 
signed the bond in Ainslie's tavern, recommending Bothwell, his 
sister's husband, as a fit person to marry the Queen. His motive, 
therefore, for promoting the dissolution of the marriage is quite 
apparent. After Both well's downfall and flight, Throckmorton, in a 
letter to Queen Elizabeth, says, 'Now I hear sayde earle of Huntley 
can be contented that Bodwell shuld myscarye, to ryd the quene 
and hys sister of so wicked a husbande.' The allusion in this letter 
to Huntly' s sister evidently implies that it was still possible that she 
might be held to be legally Bothwell' s wife ; and this is confirmed 
by the statement that ' she hath protested to the Lady Moray that 
she will never live with the Earl of Bothwell nor take him for her 
husband.' Unless she had been aware that the divorce had been 
collusive and fraudulent, she could not have regarded it as a 
possible occurrence that she might be called upon to live again with 
Bothwell as his wife. 

With regard to Lady Jean's own reasons for agreeing so readily 
to separate from her husband, apart from the question whether 
this step was taken with the knowledge of the Queen's affection, 
real or supposed, for Bothwell, and with a view to the restoration 
of the fortunes of her house, as was positively asserted by the 

312 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

Earl of Moray, it is doubtful whether she did really sacrifice her 
feelings by consenting to the divorce. Bothwell, according to 
all accounts, was a person of violent temper and gross habits, 
as well as of notorious profligacy, and short as had been the 
time of their union, it was long enough to disgust a lady whom her 
son, the Earl of Sutherland, describes as ' virtuous, religious, and 
wyse, even beyond her sex,' and to make her willing, if not anxious, 
that her connection with her worthless husband should be brought 
to a termination. It must also be kept in mind that, contrary to 
custom in such cases, special arrangements were made for the 
preservation of her legal rights as Bothwell's wife, and that, though 
her marriage was annulled, and his estates were twice forfeited 
before her death, she continued to draw her jointure from them 
to the end of her long life, and this notwithstanding her own 
marriage to two husbands in succession, after her separation from 
Bothwell in 1566. In 1573 Lady Jean married Alexander, twelfth 
Earl of Sutherland, to whom she bore two daughters and four sons, 
the youngest of whom, Sir Robert Gordon of Gordonstoun, was the 
historian of the family of Sutherland. After the death of the Earl, 
the Countess married Alexander Ogilvie of Boyne, whom she also 
outlived. She died, May 14th, 1629, having survived, in peace and 
honour, her divorce from Bothwell the long period of sixty-two 
years. Her son, Sir Robert Gordon, eulogises in glowing terms 
her excellent memory, sound judgment, and great understanding, 
the prudence and foresight with which she managed her affairs 
' amidst all the troublesome times, and variable courses of fortune ' 
which she experienced. ' By reason of her husband, Earl Alexander, 
his sickly disposition, together with her son's minority at the time of 
his father's death, she was in a manner forced to take upon her the 
managing of all the affairs of that house a good while, which she did 
perform with great care, to her own credit and the weal of that family.' 

George, fifth Earl of Huntly, as we have seen, was tried and 
condemned for treason after the battle of Corrichie. A story has 
been told, on the authority of Gordon of Straloch, respecting an 
alleged attempt on the part of the Earl of Moray to procure the 
execution of Lord George Gordon during his imprisonment in Dun- 
bar Castle, without the Queen's knowledge, though professedly by 
her authority. But it rests on no trustworthy authority, and carries 
falsehood on its face. The death of Lord George, who was a con- 

The Gordons. 313 

demned traitor, could have been of no service to Moray while other 
six of Huntly'ssons were alive and at liberty. After Queen Mary had 
resolved to marry Darnley in spite of the opposition of Moray and the 
other Protestant lords, she released Gordon from prison, and restored 
to him his titles and estates. The Earl of Huntly was in Holyrood 
at the time of Rizzio's murder, and was supping along with Both- 
well and Athole in another part of the palace. Having reason to 
believe that they were obnoxious to the perpetrators of that dastardly 
crime, they made their escape through a window of their apartment 
towards the garden on the north side. When the Queen took refuge 
in Dunbar, Huntly hastened to the royal standard with his retainers, 
and was rewarded for his loyalty with the office of Chancellor, of 
which the Earl of Morton was deprived for his complicity in the 
murder of Rizzio. He is said to have been present at the memor- 
able conference with the Queen respecting the proposal that she 
should obtain a divorce from her worthless husband ; and there is 
every reason to believe that he was one of those who subscribed the 
bond for Darnley's murder. After that foul deed was executed he 
accompanied Mary to Seton, about twelve miles from Edinburgh, 
along with Bothwell, Argyll, and others implicated in the crime. 
There, according to an entry in a contemporary, ' Diary of Occur- 
rences,' ' they passed their time meryly.' Huntly and Seton, it was 
said, played a match against the Queen and Bothwell in shooting at 
the butts, and the former, who were the losers, entertained the winners 
to dinner in the adjoining village of Tranent. Huntly was present at 
the notorious supper of the most influential peers, and members of 
the Estates, which was held on the 19th of April, in Ainslie's tavern, 
and signed the document recommending Bothwell as a suitable 
husband to the Queen, and promising to promote their marriage, — 
probably the most shameful deed of that disgraceful period. Huntly's 
titles and estates were restored on that same day, no doubt with the 
distinct understanding that he would further Bothwell's divorce from 
his sister. 

After the insurrection of the Confederate lords had compelled the 
Queen to separate from her husband, Bothwell took refuge with 
Huntly at Strathbogie, and it was not until the attempt of the two 
earls to raise a fresh force for the Queen's cause had failed that 
Bothwell resolved to flee the country. It need excite no surprise 
that Huntly, whose whole conduct showed that he was as selfish as 
he was unprincipled, was then ' contented that Bothwell should 

314 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

myscarye,' and that in a short space of time he was acting with the 
nobles who were denouncing the Queen's marriage, and loudly 
execrating Bothwell's conduct. He signed the bond to support the 
authority of the infant king, and carried the sceptre at the first Par- 
liament of the Regent Moray, 3rd December, 1567. After Mary's 
escape from Lochleven Castle the Earl once more changed sides, 
and joined the association which was formed at Hamilton in support 
of the Queen. Huntly had gone to the north, in order to raise 
forces in her behalf, and was on his march with a considerable army 
to her aid, when the battle of Langside rendered her cause hopeless. 
He was deprived of his office of Chancellor — a step which no doubt 
strengthened his hostility to the Regent ; but, after uniting with the 
Hamiltons in an attempt to let loose the Borderers upon England, 
in order to bring about a war between the two countries, and writing 
to the Duke of Alva soliciting his assistance, Huntly made his peace 
with Moray in May, 1569. 

After the murder of the Regent, in 1570, the Earl accepted 
from Mary the office of Lieutenant-General of the kingdom, and 
collected a strong force at Aberdeen. But he and the other leaders 
of the party were proclaimed traitors by the new Regent, Lennox, 
who attacked him on his march southward, and defeated him 
at Brechin. At a Parliament held at Stirling in 157 1, an Act of 
forfeiture was passed against Huntly and his brother, Sir Adam 
Gordon, alonsr with other adherents of the Oueen. The Earl was 
one of the leaders of the force despatched by Kirkaldy of Grange 
against the Regent at Stirling, which had nearly succeeded in taking 
prisoners the most influential members of the King's party. Lennox 
lost his life on that occasion, and Captain Calder, who shot him, 
declared previous to his execution, that Huntly and Lord Claud 
Hamilton gave him orders to shoot both the Regent and the Earl of 
Morton. A treaty of peace was at length concluded, 23rd February, 
1573, between the Duke of Chatelherault and Huntly on the one 
side, and the new Regent, Morton, on the other, by which the former 
became bound to acknowledge the King's authority, and the Regent 
pledged himself to get the Act of attainder against them repeated 
and their estates restored. The Parliament confirmed these condi- 
tions, and Huntly laid down his arms and retired to his northern 
domains. He died at Strathbogie in 1576. The startling sudden- 
ness of his death was regarded by his contemporaries as a divine 
judgment upon him for his crimes, and especially for his partici- 

The Gordons. 3 1 5 

pation in the murder of Darnley, and of Regent Lennox ; and 
marvellous stones were told of the mysterious noises that were 
heard in the room in which his body was laid, and how several indi- 
viduals, on opening the door of the room and attempting to enter it, 
fell down instantly as if dead, and were with difficulty recovered. 
He was certainly one of the worst of the unprincipled Scottish nobles 
of that period, blackened with crimes of the most atrocious nature. 

George, sixth Earl and first Marquis of Huntly, succeeded his 
father when he was a minor. Like him, he was the leader of the 
Roman Catholic party in the north, and united with the Earls of 
Crawford and Errol in intriguing with the King of Spain and the 
Pope, for the overthrow of the Protestant Church and the restoration 
of Romish supremacy in Scotland. In 1588, however, he professed 
to give in his adherence to the Reformed faith, and subscribed the 
Confession, but in his intercepted letters to the Spanish King, he 
says, 'the whole had been extorted from him against his conscience.' 
In the following year he and his associates took up arms against the 
Government, but were speedily overthrown, almost without a struggle. 
He was brought to trial and found guilty of repeated acts of treason, 
but the King, with whom the Earl was a favourite, and whose policy 
was to conciliate the English Roman Catholics, would not allow 
sentence to be pronounced against him. At the time of his marriage 
and the public rejoicings with which it was accompanied, James set 
at liberty this potent nobleman, who, however, refused to remain at 
Court, and retired to his estates in Aberdeenshire, where he appears 
to have exerted himself to suppress the feuds which at that time 
raged in the north. His efforts do not appear to have been 
attended with much success, and he became involved himself in 
bitter feuds with the Grants, and the clan Chattan, which were not 
unattended with bloodshed. 

A deadly quarrel took place at this time between Huntly and the 
Earl of Moray, son-in-law of the ' Good Regent,' a young nobleman 
of great promise and of remarkably handsome appearance, who had 
befriended the clans at feud with the Gordons. A rumour was cir- 
culated, which was utterly untrue, that Moray had abetted Bothwell 
in his attempt to seize the King's person in 1591. Huntly commu- 
nicated this fabulous story to James, and importuned him to take 
proceedings against the traitor. Though the King well knew that 
Huntly was the mortal enemy of Moray, he granted him a com- 


1 6 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

mission to apprehend that nobleman and bring- him to trial. Armed 
with this authority, Huntly, at the head of a body of horsemen, 
hastened to Dunnibrissle, a mansion on the northern shore of the 
Firth of Forth, where Moray was then residing. He arrived about 
midnight, and surrounding- the house, summoned the Earl to sur- 
render. Unwilling to put himself in the power of his deadly foe, 
Moray refused to comply, and with the few retainers whom he had 
with him, maintained a stout defence against his assailants. Unable 
to force an entrance, Huntly set fire to the house, and the inmates 
were compelled to come out, in order to escape being suffocated or 
burnt to death. Sheriff Dunbar, who was the first to rush out, was 
mistaken for the Earl, and was at once put to death ; but Moray 
succeeded in forcing his way through the assailants and escaped to 
the sea-shore. His pursuers, however, followed him down amongst 
the cliffs, where he was endeavouring to conceal himself, and put 
him to death with savage cruelty. Gordon of Buckie, who took a 
prominent part in this foul deed, insisted on Huntly becoming 
' art and part ' in the murder by stabbing the dead body of the 

When the tidings of this atrocity reached the capital next morning, 
the whole city was immediately in commotion. Loud lamentations 
were heard on every side for the death of Moray, who was a great 
favourite with the people, and especially with the Presbyterian party, 
and the King himself was violently denounced as a participant in 
the murder. There were various suspicious circumstances which 
strengthened the general conviction that James was not free from 
guilt in the matter, notwithstanding his public and solemn protesta- 
tion of his own innocence. The public indignation grew so strong 
and threatening that he withdrew in great alarm to Glasgow ; but 
he persisted notwithstanding in his determination to screen Huntly. 
In a letter which James wrote to him at this crisis, he says, ' Since 
your passing herefra, I have been in such danger and perill of my 
life, as since I was borne I was never in the like, partlie by the 
grudging and tumults of the people, and partlie by the exclamation 
of the ministrie, whereby I was moved to dissemble. Alwise I sail 
remain constant. When you come heree, come not by the ferries, 
and if ye doe, accompanie yourself as yee respect your own preser- 

* This tragic incident is commemorated in the well-known ballad of The Bonnie 
Earl of Moray. 

The Goi'dons. 3 1 7 

With the hope of putting a stop to the loud clamours for justice, 
James at length made a show of proceeding against Huntly. The 
Earl was accordingly summoned to surrender and stand his trial ; 
and having received from the King a secret assurance of safety, he 
at once obeyed, and on the 10th of March, 1592, he entered himself 
in ward in the castle of Blackness. But as soon as the popular 
feeling against him was somewhat allayed, he was set at liberty, on 
finding security to re-enter and stand his trial, when he should be 
required. No trial, however, was intended, and none ever took 
place, and this mockery of justice was terminated by Huntly 
obtaining the royal pardon and being permitted to return to Court. 

The murder of the Earl of Moray was not the only savage deed 
in which Huntly was implicated. The chief of the clan Macintosh, 
in conjunction with the Laird of Grant and the Earls of Argyll and 
Athole, ravaged Huntly's lands, in revenge for the slaughter of 
Moray, and Mackintosh burned the castle of Auchindoun, which 
belonged to the Gordons. Huntly, in revenge for this outrage, not 
only assailed the hostile sept with his own followers, but let loose 
upon them all the neighbouring clans who were under his influence, 
and ' would do anything,' as the old phrase was, ' for his love or for 
his fear.' In order to save his clan from extermination, Mackintosh 
resolved to surrender himself to Huntly, to atone for the offence 
he had committed. He accordingly proceeded to the castle of the 
Bog of Gight for this purpose. The Earl was from home, but the 
chief presented himself to the Countess, a stern and haughty 
woman, and, after expressing his penitence for the burning of 
Auchindoun, entreated that his clan should be spared. The lady 
informed him that her husband was so deeply offended by his 
conduct, that he had sworn that he would never pardon the outrage 
till he had brought the offender's neck to the block. Mackintosh 
expressed his willingness to submit even to that humiliation, and to 
put himself at her mercy, and, kneeling down, he laid his head on 
the block on which the slain bullocks and sheep were broken up, no 
doubt expecting that the Countess would be satisfied with this token 
of unreserved submission. But, with a vindictiveness which proved 
her to be a worthy helpmate to her husband, she made a sign to the 
cook, who stepped forward with his hatchet, and severed the unfor- 
tunate chief's head from his body. 

Another story is told of Huntly which not only exhibits his 
personal character, but throws light on the manners of the times. 

3 1 8 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

The Farquharsons of Deeside had killed Gordon of Brackley, the 
head of a minor branch of the family. The Earl resolved to inflict 
condign punishment for this slaughter not only on the actual homi- 
cides, but also on the whole sept. He summoned to his assistance 
his ally, the Laird of Grant, and arranged that he should commence 
operations on the upper end of the Vale of Dee, while the 
Gordons should ascend the river from beneath, and thus place the 
devoted clan between two fires. The Farquharsons, thus enclosed 
as in a net, and taken unawares, were almost entirely destroyed, 
both men and women, and about two hundred orphan children were 
nearly the only survivors. Huntly carried the poor orphans to his 
castle, and fed them like pigs. About a year after this destructive 
foray, the Laird of Grant paid a visit to the Bog of Gight, and, after 
dinner, Huntly said he would show him rare sport. Conducting 
his guest to a balcony which overlooked the kitchen, he showed 
him a large trough, into which all the broken victuals left from the 
dinner of the whole household had been thrown, and on a signal 
given by the cook, a hatch was raised and there rushed into the 
kitchen a mob of children, half naked, and as uncivilised as a pack of 
hounds, who clamoured and struggled each to obtain a share of the 
food. Grant, who, unlike his host, was a humane man, was greatly 
shocked at this degrading scene, and inquired who these miserable 
children were that were thus fed like so many pigs. He was 
informed that they were the children of those Farquharsons whom 
the Gordons and the Grants slew on Deeside. Grant must have 
felt deeply the consequences thus presented to him of the sanguinary 
raid in which he had taken part, and he put in his claim to be 
allowed to maintain these wretched orphans as long as they had 
been kept by Huntly. The Earl, who was probably tired of the 
joke of the pig-trough, readily consented to get the rabble of children 
taken off his hands, and gave himself no further trouble about them. 
The Laird of Grant was allowed to carry them to his castle, and 
ultimately to disperse them among his clan. They of course bore 
the laird's own name of Grant ; but it is said that for several gener- 
ations their descendants continued to bear the designation of the 
Race of the Trough, to mark their origin. 

Huntly had now returned to his own country, but he was very 
soon involved in fresh troubles and conflicts. In conjunction with 
the Earls of Angus and Errol, he entered into a treasonable con- 
spiracy to overturn the Protestant religion in Scotland. He was, 

The Gordons. 319 

in consequence, summoned with great reluctance by the King, to 
answer to the charge brought against him of conspiring, along with 
other discontented Popish nobles, against the sovereign. Instead, 
however, of surrendering to stand his trial, Huntly and his asso- 
ciates took refuge in their northern fastnesses. James, indignant 
at this disregard of his authority, marched against them (17th 
February, 1593) at the head of a strong body of troops. But on 
hearing of his arrival at Aberdeen, Huntly and his fellow-conspirators 
quitted their strongholds, and fled to the mountains, leaving their 
wives to present the keys of their castles in token of surrender. 
James placed garrisons in these strongholds, and followed up these 
steps by the forfeiture of the Popish lords and the seizure of their 
land ; but this was done in such a way as to justify the remark of 
Lord Burleigh, that the King only ' dissembled a confiscation.' In 
the course of a few months he invited the Countess of Huntly to 
Court, and, it was believed, even consented to hold a secret meeting 
at Falkland with Huntly himself. The Protestant party vehemently 
remonstrated against the lenity which James was showing to the 
men who were conspirators against his throne, as well as against the 
Protestant faith ; but he would proceed no farther against them than 
to offer that their offences should be ' abolished, delete, and extinct, 
and remain in oblivion for ever,' provided that they would renounce 
Popery and embrace the Presbyterian religion. If they refused this 
offer they were to go into exile. Huntly and the other two Earls 
declined to avail themselves of these proferred terms, and they entered 
into a new conspiracy with Francis Stewart, Earl of Bothwell, for the 
seizure of the King's person. They were in consequence declared 
guilty of high treason, their estates and honours were forfeited, and 
a commission was given to the Earl of Argyll to lay waste their 
territory, and to pursue them with fire and sword. The Earl 
accordingly marched to the north at the head of a strong body 
of men, and encountered Huntly at a place called Glenlivet. After 
a fierce contest Argyll was defeated with considerable loss. [See 
Campbells of Argyll.] 

The King, who had reached Dundee on his way northwards, 
though he seems to have regarded with great complacency the 
misfortune that had befallen Argyll,* was so enraged at the insult 

* On seeing the Earl return attended only by a small body of his own retainers, 
James is said to have remarked, ' Fair fa' ye, Geordie Gordon, for sending him back 
sae like a subject.' 

320 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

to his own authority, that he hastened to the north with his whole 
army, reinforced by the clans at feud with the Gordons, and reached 
Aberdeen on the 15th of October, 1594. He thence marched to 
Strathbogie — the castle of Huntly, who had fled into Caithness — 
which he caused to be blown up with gunpowder and levelled with 
the ground. The Earl, finding himself reduced to extremity by the 
desertion of his followers and by the rigour of the northern winter, 
which had just set in, implored and obtained the King's permission 
to depart out of Scotland, on the condition that he would not 
return without his Majesty's consent, or during his exile engage in 
any new attempt against the Protestant religion or the peace and 
liberties of his native country. 

Huntly did, notwithstanding, return secretly to Scotland in Decem- 
ber, 1597, with the connivance of the King. Great offers were made 
in his behalf by his Countess, and liberal promises were given to 
the judicatories of the Kirk, that, if allowed to remain, he would 
abstain from any attempt to overthrow or injure the Protestant 
Church, would banish from his company all Jesuits and seminary 
priests, and would even confer with any of the ministers of the Kirk 
on the subject of religion, and, if convinced by their arguments, would 
embrace the Protestant faith. On these conditions, which were never 
meant to be kept, Huntly was again reconciled to the Kirk with 
much public solemnity, and was suffered to remain in the country, 
and to retain possession of his castles and estates. As a mark of 
the royal favour he obtained a grant of the dissolved abbey of Dun- 
fermline, was appointed Lord-Lieutenant of the North, and on the 
15th of April, 1599, was created Marquis of Huntly. James had 
always cherished a great liking for the chief of the Gordons ; and 
Calderwood, under the date of a.d. 1600, says that he and the King 
' passed over the time with drinking and waughting ' (quaffing in 
large draughts). 

Through the interposition of the King, Huntly was reconciled, in 
1603, to the Earl of Moray, the son of the ' Bonnie Earl ' whom he 
had murdered, and in token of their amity he gave the young noble- 
man his eldest daughter in marriage. 

He was again, however, in trouble with the Protestant clergy, and 
Mr. George Gladstanes, minister of St. Andrews, was appointed by 
the General Assembly to remain with the Marquis ' for ane quarter, 
or ane half year, to the effect by his travels and labours the said 
noble lord and his family might be informit in the word of truth.' 

The Gordons. 321 

The 'travels and labours' of this worthy minister, however, failed to 
induce his lordship to ' resort to the preaching at the ordinar times 
in the parish kirk,' or to cease his efforts to promote the Roman 
Catholic religion in Scotland, and to shelter and encourage the 
Jesuits and priests. He was in consequence excommunicated by 
the General Assembly in 1608, and in the following year was com- 
mitted to Stirling Castle. He regained his liberty in December, 
1 6 10, on his engaging to subscribe the Confession of Faith, and to 
make satisfaction to the Kirk — a stipulation as discreditable to the 
clerical leaders as it was to the Popish Earl. He of course speedily 
relapsed into his old habits, and directed his officers to prohibit his 
tenants from attending the Protestant Church. For this conduct he 
was summoned, in 161 6, to appear before the Court of High Com- 
mission, and on his refusal to subscribe the Confession of Faith he 
was committed prisoner to the castle of Edinburgh. He was 
speedily set at liberty by the Lord Chancellor, and proceeded to 
London, where he was absolved from the sentence of excommunica- 
tion by the Archbishop of Canterbury, a proceeding which gave 
great offence to the Scottish prelates, who regarded it as a 
revival of the old claim of supremacy over the Church of Scotland. 
The Archbishop of St. Andrews noticed it in a sermon which he 
preached in St. Giles's Church, Edinburgh, and stated that the King 
had promised that ' the like should not fall out hereafter.' This 
admission, however, was not regarded as satisfactory, and the Mar- 
quis was obliged to appear before the General Assembly in August, 
1 61 6, and there to acknowledge his offence, and to promise that he 
would educate his children in the faith of the Reformed Church, and 
continue therein himself. On the faith of this confession and 
promise, he was absolved by the Archbishop of St. Andrews. He 
then made oath that he would truly conform to the Established 
Church, and subscribed the Confession of Faith. It is not easy to 
decide whether the conduct of the Marquis or of the Assembly in 
this dishonest proceeding, deserves the more severe condemnation. 
Though he professed to have been converted four or five times over 
by the Protestant ministers, there can be no doubt that he was during 
his whole life a warm adherent of the Romish Church. 

Huntly does not appear to have been such a favourite with 
Charles I. as he was with James, for he compelled the too powerful 
nobleman to resign the sheriffships of Aberdeen and Inverness for 
the sum of ,£5,000 ; which, however, was never paid. The Marquis 

VOL, II. y 

322 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

became involved in the feud with the Crichtons of Frendraught, and 
his vassals, uniting with the Gordons of Rothiemay, ravaged the 
lands of Frendraught, hanged one of his tenants, and carried off a 
large booty, which they disposed of by public sale. [See The 
Crichtons of Frendraught.] Frendraught hastened to Edin- 
burgh, and complained of these outrages to the Privy Council, who 
issued an order, in the beginning of 1635, f° r Huntly to appear 
before them. He attempted to excuse himself on the plea of old age 
and infirmity, but the Council were inexorable. He was outlawed 
for contumacy ; and some of his friends were apprehended, and two 
of them were executed. Having, however, afterwards appeared in 
Edinburgh, his sentence was reversed, and he was about to be set at 
liberty, on giving his bond that he and his allies and retainers should 
keep the peace, when he was accused by Captain Adam Gordon of 
Park, one of the ringleaders in the attacks upon Frendraught, of 
being the resetter of the ' broken-men ' in the north, and the prime 
mover in the depredations against the Crichtons, and in all the 
disorders by which the peace of the northern districts had been 
disturbed. The aged noble was summoned by the Council to 
appear before them in Edinburgh to answer this charge, and though 
it was now ' the dead of the year, cold, tempestuous, and stormy,' he 
was compelled to obey. Though he is said to have ' cleared himself 
with great dexteritie, beyond admiration,' he was imprisoned in the 
castle of Edinburgh, in a room where he had no light, and was 
denied the company of his lady, who had accompanied him, except on 
a visit at Christmas. He afterwards obtained permission to live in 
' his own lodging, near to his Majesty's palace of Holyrood House, 
with liberty to walk within ane of the gardens or walks within the 
precincts of the said palace, and no farther.' His health had now 
broken down, and finding himself growing weaker and weaker, he 
expressed a strong desire to return to Strathbogie. He accordingly 
set out in June, 1636, on his journey northward ' in a wand-bed within 
his chariot, his lady still with him.' He got no farther than Dundee, 
where he died in an inn, June 13th, and his body was carried on a 
horse-litter to Strathbogie for burial. He was in the seventy- fourth 
year of his age, and had possessed the family estates and honours 
for sixty years. 

The Marquis was interred at Elgin, with great magnificence, 
according to the rites of the Roman Catholic Church. * He had 
torch-lights,' says Spalding, ' carried in great numbers by friends 

The Gordons. 323 

and gentlemen.' His son and other three nobles bore the coffin. 
1 He was carried to the east style of the College Kirk, in at the south 
door, and buried in his own aile, with much mourning and lamenta- 
tion ; the like form of burial with torch-light was seldom seen before.' 

If we may rely on the testimony of the clerk of the Consistorial 
Court of the diocese of Aberdeen, the Marquis of Huntly, notwith- 
standing the sanguinary feuds, and treasonable intrigues in which he 
was often engaged, seems to have been highly respected in the north. 
' He was of a great spirit,' says Spalding, ' for in time of trouble he 
was of an invincible courage and boldly bare down all his enemies. 
He was never inclined to war himself, but by the pride and influence 
of his kin was diverse times drawn into troubles, whilk he did bear 
through valiantly. He loved not to be in the law contending against 
any man, but loved rest and quietness with all his heart, and in time 
of peace he lived moderately and temperately in his diet, and fully 
set to building all curious devices. A good neighbour in his 
marches, disposed rather to give than to take a foot wrongously. He 
was heard to say he never drew a sword in his own quarrel. In his 
youth a prodigal spender, in his old age more wise and worldly, 
yet never counted for cost in matters of credit and honour. A great 
householder ; a terror to his enemies, whom he ever, with his prideful 
kin, held under subjection and obedience. Just in all his bargains, 
and was never heard of for his true debt.' 

The rent-roll of the Marquis, which has fortunately been pre- 
served, gives a striking idea of the means and influence of this great 
nobleman. It states in detail the sums of money, and the produce 
due from each farm on his vast estates. A large proportion of the 
rent was paid in kind. ' The silver mail,' or money rent, amounted 
to ^3,819, besides ^636 of teind silver. The ' ferme victual' 
payable to the Marquis was 3,816 bolls, besides which there 
were 55 bolls of custom meal, 436 of multure beir, 108 of custom 
oats, 83 of custom victual, 167 marts (cattle to be slaughtered 
at Martinmas), 483 sheep, 316 lambs, 167 grice (young pigs), 
14 swine, 1,389 capons, 272 geese, 3,231 poultry, 700 chickens, 
5,284 eggs, 5 stones of candles, 46 stones of brew tallow, 34 leats 
of peats, 990 ells of custom linen, 94 stones of custom butter, 40 
barrels of salmon, 8 bolls of teind victual, 2 stones of cheese, and 
30 kids.* This vast amount of grain and live stock was, of course, 
devoted to the maintenance of the large body of retainers who were 

* Gordon Papers, Spalding Club MSS. iv. 

1 ~> 

4 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

at his command, and ready to support his cause, even against the 
sovereign himself. 

In his latter years, the Marquis occupied himself much in building 
and planting. In 1602, he rebuilt with great splendour the ancient 
castle of Strathbogie, now known as Huntly Castle, which, though 
in a ruinous state, attests the magnificent style in which the chief 
of the great family of the Gordons lived. ' He built a house at 
Kinkail, on the Dee,' says Sir Robert Gordon, ' called the New 
House, which standeth amidst three hunting forests of his own. He 
built the house of Ruthven, in Badenoch, twice, it being burnt down 
by aventure, or negligence of his servants, after he had once finished 
the same. He built a new house in Aboyne ; he repaired his house 
in Elgin ; he hath built a house in the Plewlands, in Moray ; he hath 
enlarged and decoreat the house of Bog-Gicht, which he hath 
parked about ; he repaired his house in the old town of Aberdeen.'* 

The feeling against Roman Catholics ran so high at this time that 
the Marchioness, a daughter of Esme, Duke of Lennox, the favourite 
of King James, was compelled to return to France, where she had 
been born and educated, in order to escape excommunication, which 
at that time would have incurred forfeiture of her whole property. 
' Thus resolutely,' says Spalding, ' she settles her estates, rents, and 
living, and leaves with sore heart her stately building of the Bog, 
beautified with many yards, parks, and pleasures — closes up the 
yetts, and takes journey with about sixteen horse. ... A strange 
thing to see a worthy lady, near seventy years of age, put to such 
trouble and travail, being a widow, her eldest son, the Lord Marquis, 
being out of the kingdom, her bairns and oyes [grandchildren] dis- 
persed and spread ; and albeit nobly born, yet left helpless and com- 
fortless, and so put at by the Kirk, that she behoved to go, or else to bide 
excommunication, and thereby lose her estate and living. ... It is 
said she had about three hundred thousand merks in gold and jewels 
with her, by and attain the gold and silver plate of both houses of 
Bog and Strathbogie.' On her journey southward the Marchioness 
remained about three months in Edinburgh ; but though Charles I. 
was in the Scottish capital at this time, he was powerless to protect 
her. She died in France in the ensuing year. 

The Marquis of Huntly left by this lady four sons and five 
daughters. His second son, John, who was created Viscount Melgum 
* Genealogical History of the Earldom of Sutherland. 

The Gordons. 325 

and Lord Aboyne by Charles I. in 1627, perished in the burning of 
Frendraught Castle.* His eldest son, George, was second Marquis 
of Huntly. During the lifetime of his father he spent some time at 
the Court in London, and great pains were taken by the King to 
educate him in the Protestant religion. On his return to his own 
country, the Earl of Enzie, as he was termed, became involved, in 
1618, in a quarrel with Sir Lauchlan Mackintosh — chief of the clan 
Chattan, his hereditary enemies — which greatly disturbed the peace of 
the country. In the end the Earl, who possessed superior influence 
at Court, induced King James to commit Mackintosh to the castle of 
Edinburgh, until he should give satisfaction to the heir of the Gor- 
dons. In 1623, accompanied by a band of ' gallant young gentlemen 
and well appointed,' he went over to France, and was made Captain 
of the Scots Bodyguard to the French king, an office of great 
honour and influence, which had long been held by the Stewarts of 
D'Aubigny, Earls and Dukes of Lennox. Louis XIII. was at that 
time assisting the German princes against the House of Austria, and 
Lord Enzie was sent into Lorraine, and served with great distinc- 
tion there, and afterwards in Alsace. Louis, on reviving the corps, 
intended to confer the command on Frederick, Duke of Richmond 
and Lennox, but on the sudden death of that nobleman in 1624, the 
honour was transferred to his nephew, Lord Gordon, under the Mar- 
shal de la Force. The French king cordially acknowledged the 
signal services rendered to him by the Scottish company in this 
campaign. The Earl was recalled from Germany by his father, as 
his assistance was urgently required in suppressing the disorders in 
the Highlands and in Aberdeenshire. He was created Viscount 
Aboyne in 1632, with remainder to his sec<./nd son, James, and his 
heirs male. He succeeded to the hereditary honours and estates of 
his family on the death of his father in 1636, and when the ill-advised 
proceedings of Charles I., in attempting to force an English liturgy 
on the people of Scotland, had caused them to take up arms in vindi- 
cation of their rights and liberties, the Marquis of Huntly received a 
commission from the King as his Lieutenant in the North, and raised 
the royal standard there. 

* Viscount Melgum was married to Lady Sophia Hay, fifth daughter of the Earl of 
Errol. This lady was a Roman Catholic, and was ministered to by Gilbert Blackhal, 
a priest of the Scots' mission in France, in the Low Countries, and in Scotland, who, 
in a work which has been published by the Spalding Club, entitled, ' A brieff narration 
of the services done to three noble Ladyes,' has recorded ' How I came to be engaged 
in the service of my Ladye of Aboyne,' and ' of the services that I rendered to my 
Lady of Aboyne, in the capacities of priest, chamberlain, and captain of her castle.' 

326 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

The Covenanters, who were well aware of Huntly's great influence 
in the north, made an earnest effort to induce him to join their party- 
Colonel Robert Munro, an officer who had served in the German wars, 
was sent as their envoy to Strathbogie. ' The sum of his commission 
to Huntly was, that the noblemen Covenanters were desirous that he 
should join with them in the common cause ; that if he would do so, 
and take the Covenant, they would give him the first place and make 
him leader of their forces ; and further, they would make his state 
and his fortunes greater than ever they were ; and, moreover, they 
should pay off and discharge all his debts, which they knew to be 
about ane hundred thousand pounds sterling ; that their forces and 
associates were a hundred to one with the King ; and therefore it was 
to no purpose to him to take up arms against them, for if he refused 
this offer, and declared against them, they should find means to dis- 
able him for to help the King; and, moreover, they knew how to 
undo him, and bade him expect that they would ruinate his family 
and estates.' 

The offer was tempting to an ambitious man, but Huntly's loyalty 
was proof against the temptation. * To this proposition,' says the 
contemporary writer, ' Huntly gave a sharp and absolute repartee, 
that his family had risen and stood by the kings of Scotland ; and 
for his part, if the event proved the ruin of the King, he was resolved 
to lay his life, honours, and estate under the rubbish of the King his 
ruins. But, withal, thanked the gentleman who had brought the 
commission, and had advised him thereto, as proceeding from one 
whom he took for a friend and good- wilier, and urged out of a good 
intention to him.'* 

Huntly's first step was to seize and fortify the city of Aberdeen. 
Having learned that a meeting of Covenanters was to be held at 
Turriff on February 14, he resolved to disperse them, and marched 
thither at the head of two thousand men. But Montrose having 
received intimation of Huntly's purpose, anticipated this movement, 
and by a rapid march across a range of hills called the Grangebean, 
reached Turriff before his arrival. The Marquis, finding that he had 
been forestalled, retreated to Aberdeen without venturing on an 
attack, alleging that he had authority to act only on the defensive. 
On the approach of Montrose, however, to Aberdeen, Huntly pre- 
cipitately retreated northward, and the inhabitants surrendered with- 
out resistance to the Covenanting general. It was on this occasion 

* Gordon's Scots' Affairs, i. 49-50. 

The Gordons. 327 

that distinctive colours were for the first time adopted by the Royalist 
and the Presbyterian parties. Spalding- says, ' Here it is to be noted, 
that few or none of the haill army wanted ane blew ribbin hung about 
his craig [neck], down under his left arme, which they called the 
" Covenanters' Ribbon." But the Lord Gordon, and some other of 
the Marquess's bairnes and familie, had ane ribbin when he was 
dwelling in the toun of ane reid flesh cullor, which they wore in their 
hatts, and called it the " Royall Ribbin," as a sign of their love and 
loyaltie to the King. In despyte and derision thereof, this blew ribbin 
was worne, and called the " Covenanters' Ribbon " be [by] the haill 
souldiers of the army, and would not hear of the " Royall Ribbin," 
such was their pryde and malice.' * 

After demolishing the fortifications which Huntly had erected, 
and compelling the citizens to subscribe the Covenant. Montrose 
proceeded northwards to Inverury in search of the chief of the 
Gordons. An interview was arranged between them in the presence 
of twelve friends on each side, which terminated in Huntly' s accom- 
panying Montrose to the camp at Inverury. The historian of the 
family of Gordon states that the conference there terminated in an 
agreement that Huntly 'should subscribe a paper by which he 
obliged himself to maintain the King's authority, together with the 
liberties and religion of the kingdom,' and that his friends and fol- 
lowers should be at liberty to sign the Covenant or not, as they 
inclined. It was also agreed that Montrose should withdraw his 
army from the north, and that Huntly should immediately disband 
that remainder of his army he had as yet kept together, and should 
not trouble or molest any of the Covenanters within the bounds of 
his lieutenancy. With respect to those of Huntly's followers who 
were Roman Catholics, and could not subscribe the Covenant, it 
was agreed that they should sign a declaration of their willingness 
to concur with the Covenanters in maintaining the laws and liberties 
of the kingdom. f 

Shortly after, a conference was held at Aberdeen of leading Coven- 
anters, and Huntly was invited to attend for the purpose of giving 
his advice respecting the best method of restoring order, and a 
regard to law, in the northern district of the country. He accepted 
the invitation, and, contrary to the advice of his friends, he took 
with him his two eldest sons. He was first of all advised by Mont- 
rose to resign his commission of lieutenancy, to which he agreed. 

* Spalding, i. 94. t History of the Illustrious Family of Gordon, ii. 265 6. 

328 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

He was then required to give a contribution towards liquidating the 
debt which had been contracted in raising and paying their forces. 
He declined to comply with this demand, on the ground that the 
money was borrowed without his advice or consent. Montrose next 
requested him to take steps to apprehend some loose and broken 
men in the north, but he pleaded that, having resigned his commis- 
sion, he had no longer any authority to act in such a matter. He 
was, finally, required to reconcile himself to the Crichtons of Fren- 
draught, which he positively refused to do. He was then informed 
that he and his sons must accompany the Covenanting forces to 
Edinburgh, and that it was in his choice to do so either as a prisoner, 
with a guard, or with Montrose himself, at large. He pleaded that 
he had come to Inverury by invitation of Montrose, on an assur- 
ance of safe conduct, with permission to come and go at his own 
pleasure, and it was not honourable to tell him that he must now go 
to Edinburgh whether he would or would not. However, since he 
was left to make his choice, he would rather go to the south as a 
volunteer than as a prisoner.* Viscount Aboyne, his second son, 
was allowed to return to Strathbogie in order to provide money for 
his father, but the Marquis himself, and his eldest son, were con- 
veyed to Edinburgh, where they were imprisoned in the castle. They 
were, however, soon after set at liberty, in accordance with the stipu- 
lation in the treaty between King Charles and the Covenanting 
forces, 20th June, 1639. 

It is difficult to say how far Montrose was responsible for this 
breach of good faith and of a safe conduct. His defenders allege that 
he was overborne by the clamorous demands of the personal enemies 
of Huntly. It is certain, however, that the Gordons laid the blame 
of this dishonourable deed at the door of Montrose himself. A con- 
temporary chronicler says, ' For Montrose going along with that 
action it is most certain, to the best of my knowledge — for I write 
this knowingly — that it bred such a distaste in Huntly against 
Montrose, that afterwards, when Montrose fell off to the King, and 
forsook the Covenanters, and was glad to get the assistance of 
Huntly and his followers, the Marquis of Huntly could never be 
gained to join cordially with him, nor to swallow that indignity. 
This bred jars betwixt them in the carrying on of the war, and that 
which was pleasing to the one was seldom pleasing to the other. 
Whence it came to pass, that such as were equally enemies to both 

* Spalding's Memorials, i. 170. 

The Gordons. 329 

(who knew it well enough) were secured, and, in the end, prevailed 
so far as to ruinate and destroy both of them, and the King by a 
consequent.' * This state of feeling towards Montrose sufficiently 
accounts for the vacillating conduct of the Gordons throughout the 
contest between the Royalists and the Covenanters in the north. 

While the Marquis was in durance, his second son, Lord Aboyne, 
at the head of a party of the Gordons, who were dissatisfied with this 
treatment of their chief, and of a considerable body of Highlanders, 
took possession of the city of Aberdeen. Montrose lost no time in 
marching to the north to suppress this rising. On his approach, 
Aboyne disbanded his forces and made his escape, while Montrose, 
after firing and plundering that stronghold of the Royalists, marched 
from Aberdeen to attack the castles of the Gordons in Strathbogie. 
Meanwhile, Aboyne, having received a commission of lieutenancy 
from the King, returned at the head of an army of three thousand 
foot and five hundred horse, and prepared to act on the offensive. 
But the Highlanders, unaccustomed to artillery, fled at the first dis- 
charge from the cannon. 

In April, 1644, Huntly received a new commission from King 
Charles to act as his Majesty's Lieutenant-General in the north. But 
though he collected a large force he did nothing for the royal cause, 
and in a short time disbanded his army and retreated into Strath- 
naver, in Sutherlandshire. While the Marquis remained inactive in 
this remote district, Montrose had been appointed Lieutenant- 
General of the kingdom, and on raising the royal standard in Athole 
had been immediately joined by three hundred Gordons from Bad- 
enoch. But their chief could not be induced to co-operate cordially 
with the royal general, and the great body of the clan held aloof. 
They remembered with strong resentment the treatment they had 
received from Montrose during his former campaign against them 
in the service of the Covenanters, and the recent defeat which he had 
inflicted, at the Bridge of Dee, on Lord Lewis Gordon, the third son 
of Huntly, who, along with Lord Burleigh, was fighting on the side of 
the Parliament. In consequence, all the efforts of Montrose to attract 
the Gordons to the royal standard completely failed. A small body 
of them, indeed, joined him, but suddenly deserted his standard at a 
most critical moment, in spite of the exertions of their commander, 
Lord Gordon, eldest son of their chief. They, however, afterwards 
returned, and fought with great gallantry at the battle of Alford, 

* Gordon's Scots Affairs, ii. 23S. 

330 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

where their victory was embittered by the death of Lord Gordon. At 
a later period, Lord Aboyne rejoined the Royalist army at the 
head of a considerable body of horse, and fought at the battle of 
Kilsyth. But when Montrose began his march to the Borders, 
Aboyne ' took a caprice,' says Sir Robert Spottiswood, ' and had 
away with him the greatest strength he had of horse.' 

After the ruin of the royal cause in the south, Huntly, who was now 
the only formidable opponent of the successful party, still continued in 
arms, and fortified the town of Banff. A portion of the Covenanting 
army stationed in Aberdeenshire made an unsuccessful attempt to 
dislodge him, and were obliged to retire with loss, and the Marquis 
proceeded to garrison his castles of Strathbogie, Bog of Gight, and 
Auchindoun. He was excepted from pardon in 1647, and a reward 
of one thousand pounds was offered for his apprehension. Middleton 
was sent against him, but failed to reduce him to submission, though 
reinforced by three regiments from the south. David Leslie was then 
despatched to Aberdeenshire with a strong body of horse and foot, 
and Huntly, finding himself unable to resist the combined force of 
the two armies, took refuge in his Highland fastnesses. The 
Covenanting generals reduced all the strongholds of the Gordons in 
Aberdeenshire, hanging or shooting on the spot the Irishmen in 
their garrisons, and carrying away prisoners the commanders, of 
whom the most important were put to death in Edinburgh. The 
Marquis was hunted from place to place by Middleton, through 
Glenmoriston, Badenoch, and other remote districts. At length, in 
the month of December, 1647, ne was captured at midnight by 
Lieutenant-Colonel Menzies, at Dalnabo, in Strathdon. His atten- 
dants, ten in number, made a brave resistance, but were all either 
killed or mortally wounded. His captor, apprehensive of a rescue, 
carried the Marquis to the castle of Blairhndie, in Glenlivet, about 
four miles from Dalnabo. The Gordons resident in the neieh- 
bourhood flew to arms to rescue their chief. But the Marquis sent 
them a message dissuading them from the attempt. He was now, 
he said, almost worn out with grief and fatigue; he could no longer 
live in hills and dens, and hoped that his enemies would not drive 
things to the worst. But if such was the will of Lleaven, he could not 
outlive the sad fate he foresaw his royal master was likely to undergo ; 
and be the event what it would, he doubted not but the just providence 
of God would restore the royal family, and his own along with it.* 

* History of the Family of Gordon, ii. 546. 

The Gordons. 331 

The Marquis was carried under a strong guard to Edinburgh and 
imprisoned in the Tolbooth of that city. King Charles, who was at 
that time confined in Carisbrook Castle, wrote to the Earl of Lanark, 
who was then in London, entreating him to intercede on behalf of 
his old and faithful servant ; but if any such intercession was made it 
was without effect. Huntly was kept in prison for sixteen months. 
After the execution of King Charles and the Duke of Hamilton in 
England, the Scottish Committee of Estates brought the Marquis to 
trial on the 16th of March, 1649, on tne charge of treason. He was 
of course found guilty, and condemned to be beheaded at the Market 
Cross of Edinburgh, on the 22nd of that month. The men who 
brought this consistent Royalist to the block denounced the execution 
of King Charles as a great crime, but they had nevertheless no hesi- 
tation in sacrificing his most devoted follower, solely on the ground of 
his steadfast adherence to the royal cause. 

On the scaffold the Marquis displayed great calmness and 
courage. One of the Presbyterian ministers asked him if he 
desired to be absolved from the sentence of excommunication pro- 
nounced against him. He replied that as he was not accustomed 
to give ear to false prophets, he did not wish to be troubled by him. 
He addressed the crowd of spectators, declaring that he was about 
to die for having employed some years of his life in the service of 
the King, and that he had charity to forgive those who had voted 
for his death, although they could not convince him that he had done 
anything contrary to the laws.* It must be admitted that both in his 
public career and in his death, the chief of the Gordons adhered 
strictly to the principles which he had professed to Sir George Munro 
at the commencement of the Civil War. 

' The Marquis,' says Wishart in his ' Life of Montrose,' ' besides 
his noble birth, in which he was inferior to no subject, was one of 
that power in the north that he was feared by all his neighbours. He 
had a great estate, many friends, vassals, and followers ; was of a 
comely personage, and bright spirit, and had stuck close to the 
King's interest from the beginning of the troubles. On this account, 
and on this only, he was so hated by the fanaticks that they resolved 
to make him a sacrifice.' 

Lord Huntly had by his wife, Lady Anne Campbell, daughter of 
the seventh Earl of Argyll, a family of five sons and three daughters. 
His eldest son, Lord Gordon, a youth of ' singular worth and 

History of the Gordon Family, ii. 576. 

332 1 he Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

accomplishments,' served for some time in France, under the 
Marquis de la Force. When the Civil War broke out, he joined the 
Covenanters, it was supposed through the influence of his uncle, the 
Earl of Argyll; but in 1645 ne abandoned their cause, and repaired 
to the standard of Montrose. He had the command of the horse at 
the battle of Auldearn, in May of that year. He was killed at the 
battle of Alford, 2nd July. The historian of the family says Lord 
Gordon was 'a very hopeful young gentleman, able of mind and 
body, about the age of twenty-eight years.' Wishart dwells at length 
on the general lamentation of the soldiers for the loss of Lord Gordon, 
' whose death seemed to eclipse all the glory of the victory,' and 
Montrose himself mourned bitterly that ' one who was the honour of 
his nation, the ornament of the Scots nobility, and the boldest 
assertor of the royal authority in the north, had fallen in the flower 
of his youth.' 

James, Viscount Aboyne, the Marquis's second son, also fought 
under the banner of Montrose at Auldearn, Alford, and Kilsyth. He 
was excepted from pardon by the Estates, and took refuge in France, 
where he died in 1648. 

Lord Lewis Gordon, the third son, succeeded his father as third 
Marquis of Huntly. Lord Charles, the fourth son, was a staunch 
Royalist, and after the Restoration was created by Charles II. Earl of 
Aboyne, and Lord Gordon of Strathavon and Glenlivet. Lord 
Henry Gordon, the fifth son of the second Marquis, served for 
several years in Poland, but returned home and died at Strathbogie. 

Lewis, third Marquis of Huntly, repeatedly changed sides during 
the Civil War, and seems to have shared the feelings of dislike and 
jealousy which most of the Gordon family cherished towards Mon- 
trose. He was restored to his honours and estates by the Parliament 
held at Perth, 5th March, 1651, at which Charles II. was present. 
He died in 1653, leaving by his wife, a daughter of Sir James Grant 
of Grant, three daughters and one son — 

George, fourth Marquis of Huntly and first Duke of Gordon. He 
was only three years old at the time of his accession to the family 
honours and estates, and when he reached his sixteenth year the 
Privy Council, in obedience to a letter from the King, decreed that, 
' in order to the conversion of the Marquis of Huntly and the better 
ordering of his affairs, his mother should be removed from him and 

The Gordons. 33 


retire with her family to some of his lordship's houses in the north, 
before the 1st of August.' ' It may be remarked as a curious com- 
bination of circumstances,' says Mr. Chambers, ' that Charles II., 
in whose name ran the letter expressing such anxiety for the 
Protestant upbringing of the young Gordon, was in his private senti- 
ments a Catholic, while Lauderdale, by whom the letter was officially 
signed, was indifferent to all religion.' The effort now made for his 
conversion was not successful. The young nobleman continued a 
firm Papist to the day of his death. 

The Marquis spent a good deal of his early life on the Continent 
and served in the French army at Oudenarde, in 167 1, and at the 
siege of Maestricht. He fought under the French standard in 1674, 
in the conquest of Burgundy, and afterwards under Marshal Turenne 
before the battle of Strasburg. In the following year he served a 
campaign under the Prince of Orange in Flanders. In 1684 he was 
created Duke of Gordon by Charles II., in testimony of his appre- 
ciation of the steadfast loyalty of his family, the sacrifices they 
had undergone, and the eminent services which they had rendered 
to the Crown. He was appointed by James VII. Lieutenant of the 
North, a member of the Privy Council, one of the Lords of the 
Treasury, and Governor of Edinburgh Castle. But though a 
Roman Catholic, the Duke disapproved of the measures adopted 
by James for the re-establishment of his religion in Scotland, and was 
in consequence treated with marked coldness by the King and Court. 

At the Revolution, however, his Grace remained faithful to the 
infatuated monarch. When he was about to surrender the Castle of 
Edinburgh, and was in the act of removing his furniture, he was pre- 
vailed upon by Dundee and Balcarres to hold it for James. The 
Convention required him to evacuate the fortress within twenty-four 
hours. He returned an evasive answer, and made various excuses 
for declining to comply with this demand. He entertained great 
respect, he said, for the Convention, and meditated no harm either 
to its members, or to the city of Edinburgh. He offered to give 
security for his peaceable behaviour to the amount of twenty 
thousand pounds sterling, but he could not give up the castle until 
he received despatches, which he was hourly expecting, from the 
Government now established in England. Llis answer was deemed 
unsatisfactory. He was proclaimed a traitor to the Estates, and 
guards were posted to intercept all communication betwixt the garri- 
son and the city. 

334 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

It was well known that the Duke was by no means resolute in 
setting at defiance the authority of the Convention, and Dundee, on 
leaving - Edinburgh in trepidation and haste, clambered up the 
western face of the rock on which the castle stands, held a con- 
ference at a postern with his Grace, and urged him to hold out till 
he should be relieved. The Duke positively refused, however, to fire 
on the city, as the Jacobites entreated him to do. He sent notice 
to the magistrates that he was about to fire a salute, but they need 
not be alarmed, for his guns would not be loaded with ball. The 
intercourse between the garrison and the citizens seems to have 
been of the most free and easy kind. Letters and fresh provisions 
were conveyed to the garrison, and on one occasion a white flag was 
hung out and a conference was held to state that all the cards in the 
castle were worn out, and the favour of a fresh supply was requested. 
But at length the provisions were exhausted, and no relief being 
practicable, the Duke surrendered the fortress on honourable 

After proceeding to London, and making his submission to King 
William, the Duke of Gordon passed over to Flanders, and, in 1691, 
paid a visit to the Court of the exiled monarch. He was very un- 
graciously received, however, and speedily quitted St. Germain's for 
Switzerland, where he was arrested and sent to England. But, 
though regarded with suspicion by the Government, not altogether 
without reason, and frequently imprisoned, he does not appear to 
have taken any part in the intrigues and plots for the restoration of 
the Stewarts. The conduct of his Duchess, a daughter of Henry 
Howard, Duke of Norfolk and Earl of Norwich, no doubt contributed 
to rouse the jealousy of the Government. In 17 11 she presented to 
the Faculty of Advocates in Edinburgh a silver medal, having on 
one side the effigy of James, and on the reverse a miniature map 
of the British Isles, with the inscription Reddite (restore). The 
cordiality with which her Grace's gift was received by the members 
of the Scottish Bar, and the language employed in their reply of 
thanks, showed the prevalence of Jacobite opinions and feelings 
among them, and naturally excited the anger of the Government 
both against the lawyers and the Duchess. On the accession of 
George I., in 17 14, the Duke was regarded as disaffected to the 
Hanoverian dynasty, and was ordered to be confined to the city of 
Edinburgh on his parole. He died at Leith, 7th December, 17 16, 
in the sixty-seventh year of his age. His son — 

The Gordoiis. 


Alexander, second Duke of Gordon, inherited the Jacobite prin- 
ciples, along- with the title and estates, of his house. During the 
lifetime of his father, the Marquis of Huntly attended the gathering 
of the Highland chiefs and other Jacobite leaders at Braemar, in 
1715, and the smaller but more important meeting at Aboyne 
Castle. He proclaimed the Chevalier at Castle Gordon, and, accom- 
panied by a large body of horse and foot, he joined the rebel force 
at Perth on the 6th of October. He fought at the battle of Sheriff- 
muir, but shortly after returned home, and capitulated to the Earl of 
Sutherland. In the following April he was brought to Edinburgh, 
and confined for a short time in the castle. The Duke seems to 
have been regarded with sympathy by the Government, and no 
further proceedings were instituted against him. He died in 
1728, and his widow, a daughter of the famous Earl of Peter- 
borough, who survived her husband upwards of thirty years, fortu- 
nately for her family and the country, educated their four sons 
and seven daughters in the Protestant faith. For this service the 
General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church sent her Grace 
a cordial letter of thanks, and the Government, in 1735, settled 
upon her a pension of ^"1000 a year.* But she was deprived ot 
her pension for a single act of hospitality shown to the Young 
Chevalier, in 1745, by laying out a breakfast for him on the road- 
side, at her park-gate of Preston Hall, as he marched past on his 
way to England. 

The Duchess was noted for her intellectual vigour, intelligence, 
and activity. In 1706 she brought down from England, to the 
estates of her father-in-law, the Duke of Gordon, some English 
ploughs, and men to work them who were acquainted with fallowing 
— a mode of husbandry heretofore unknown in Scotland. Her 
advice also induced two of the landed proprietors of the Gordon 
clan — Sir Robert Gordon of Gordonstoun and Sir William Gordon of 
Invergordon — to set about the draining and planting of their estates, 

* According to a report common at the time, the efforts of the Duchess to convert 
her eldest son to the Protestant religion were aided by a casual conversation between 
him and one of the tenants on his estate, who had received some ill-treatment from his 
Grace's factor. He at last made personal application to the Duke, from whom he at 
once obtained redress. Catching a glimpse of the images within the family chapel, 
the farmer asked what they were. The Duke answered that they were the representa- 
tions of certain holy men, to whom good Catholics were accustomed to apply to inter- 
cede for them with the Almighty. ' Such nonsense ! ' rejoined the rustic. ' Would it not 
be far better to do as I have been doing — speak to the Laird himsel'?' This chance 
remark is said to have made a considerable impression on the Duke's mind. 

336 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

and the introduction of improved modes of culture, including" the 
sowing - of French grasses. 

Lord Lewis, the third son of the first Duke — the ' Lewie Gordon ' 
of a well-known and spirited Jacobite song — took part in the rebellion 
of 1745. He escaped to the Continent after the battle of Culloden, 
and died in France in 1754, but all the rest remained faithful to the 
reigning dynasty. Lord Adam, the youngest son, was a General in the 
British army, and served with great activity and zeal both in America 
and on the Continent. He was appointed Commander-in-Chief of 
the Forces in Scotland in 1782, and in 1796 he was nominated 
Governor of Edinburgh Castle. He married the widow of the Duke 
of Athole, the heroine of the song, 'For lack of gold she's left me,' 
—a daughter of Drummond of Megginch. He died without issue 
in 1801. 

Cosmo George,* third Duke, succeeded to the family honours 
and estates in 1728, when he was only eight years of age. He 
supported the Government during the rebellion of 1745, and was 
rewarded for his loyalty by receiving, in 1747, the Order of the 
Thistle. He was elected one of the sixteen representative peers to 
the tenth Parliament of Great Britain, but he died in 1752, in the 
thirty-second year of his age, leaving by his wife, a daughter of the 
Earl of Aberdeen, three sons and four daughters. 

Lord George Gordon, his youngest son, obtained an undesirable 
notoriety in connection with the destructive riots in London which 
took place in 1780. Lord George was President of a so-called 
Protestant Association, which busied itself in getting up petitions 
for the repeal of an Act, passed in 1778, for the removal of some of 
the disabilities imposed upon the English Roman Catholics. His 
inflammatory speeches roused the London populace to a state of 
frenzied violence. A monster petition, praying for the repeal of the 
Act in question, was carried in procession through the principal 
streets of the city, to be presented to Parliament. Scenes of violence 
occurred, even in the lobbies of the House of Commons, and the 
safety of the members was for some time in peril. The Roman 
Catholic chapels, and the houses of several eminent men who were 
favourable to the unpopular Act, including that of Lord Mansfield, 
were sacked and burned by the mob without hindrance, owing to the 

* The name Cosmo was given to the Duke in compliment to Cosmo de Medici III., 
Grand Duke of Tuscany, with whom his father was on terms of close friendship. 

The Gordons. 337 

cowardice and supineness of the public authorities. The riot was 
in the end suppressed by the intervention of the military, but not 
without considerable loss of life. Lord George was imprisoned in 
the Tower, and brought to trial on a charge of high treason. He 
was defended by Thomas Erskine, in one of his finest speeches, and 
was acquitted by the jury. It was generally admitted that he was 
insane — an opinion which was confirmed some years later by his 
abandoning the Christian religion and embracing Judaism. It is 
certainly remarkable that a member of the Gordon family, who had 
suffered so much for their adherence to the Roman Catholic faith, 
should have been the leader of an association, formed to prevent the 
adherents of that religion obtaining equal rights and privileges with 
their fellow-countrymen. Believers in the transmission of charac- 
teristic peculiarities from generation to generation, will not fail to 
notice the significant fact that Lord George Gordon was the great- 
grandson of the half-mad Charles Mordaunt, Earl of Peterborough. 
The chiefs of the Gordon clan, now restored to their hereditary 
position in Parliament and in the country, became celebrated for 
their patriotism, their princely hospitality, and their kindness to their 
tenantry and their dependents. 

Duke Alexander, the fourth possessor of the ducal title, retained 
it for the long period of seventy-six years. In 1761 he was elected 
one of the sixteen representative peers of Scotland, and in 1775 
was created a Knight of the Order of the Thistle. A regiment had 
been raised on the Gordon estates in 1759, which became the 89th 
Highlanders, and his Grace was appointed one of its captains. In 
1778, during the American war, he raised the Gordon Fencibles, 
of which he became colonel; and in 1793 he raised another regi- 
ment of fencibles, called the Gordon Highlanders, which was dis- 
banded with the other fencible corps, in 1799. As his Grace was 
the great-grandson of Lady Elizabeth Howard, daughter of the Earl 
of Norwich, that extinct title was revived in his favour in 1784, 
and he was at the same time created Lord Gordon of Huntly. He 
was also appointed Keeper of the Great Seal of Scotland. The 
Duke was the author of the excellent humorous song entitled ' Cauld 
kail in Aberdeen,' but he was best known, and best remembered, as 
the husband of the celebrated Duchess Jane, one of the leaders of 
fashionable society in London for nearly half a century, and regarded 
as one of the cleverest women of her day. Her Grace was the second 

vol. ir. z 

338 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

daughter of Sir William Maxwell of Monreith. Her early years were 
spent in Hyndford's Close, off the High Street of Edinburgh, where 
she seems to have conducted herself with a freedom of manners 
which would seem almost incredible in the present day. An old 
gentleman, who was a relative of the Maxwell family, stated that on 
the occasion when he first made the acquaintance of Jane Maxwell 
and her sisters, they had been despatched by their mother, Lady 
Maxwell, to the ' Fountain Well,' in front of John Knox's house, to 
fetch ' a kettle ' of water, and Miss Jane was seen mounted on the 
back of a sow, of which she had made capture, while her sister, Miss 
Betty, afterwards Lady Wallace, lustily thumped it with a stick. 
' The two romps used to watch the animals as they were let loose 
from the yard of Peter Ramsay, the stabler, in St. Mary's Wynd, and 
get on their backs the moment they issued from the Close.' * 

In 1767, Jane Maxwell was married to Alexander, fourth Duke of 
Gordon, then in his twenty-fourth year, whom Lord Karnes, his tutor, 
considered 'the greatest subject in Britain, not from the extent of 
his rent-roll, but from a much more valuable property, the number 
of people whom Providence had put under his government and pro- 
tection.' f Her beauty, elegance, sprightliness, and extraordinary 
tact, combined with wit, made her at once a general favourite in the 
highest circles, and for many years she had an undisputed reign as 
the queen of society in London and in Edinburgh. She was a zealous 
supporter of Mr. Pitt, and her mansion in London was long the 
chief resort of the leaders of the Tory party. Her Grace, amid 
all the distractions of fashionable and political life, found time to 
perform many kind and benevolent acts. ' It was affirmed by those 
who knew her, that whether it was a young damsel who had to be 
brought out at an assembly, or a friend to be helped out of a 
difficulty, or a regiment to be raised, the Duchess of Gordon was 
ever ready to use her best exertions, and to employ in the cause the 
wonderful powers of fascination which she exercised over all who 
came in contact with her.' % 

Lord Karnes addressed a letter to the Duchess, on her marriage, 
impressing upon her the great responsibility of her position, and he 
lived to see the day when he could thank God that ' his best hopes 
had been realised ' in regard to the manner in which his ' dear 
pupil ' had given effect to his views, ' training the young creatures 

* Chambers's Traditions of Edinburgh, i. 239. 

t The Hon. Henry Erskinc, by Lieutenant-Colonel Ferguson, p. 288. J Ibid. 

The Gordons. 339 

about her to habits of industry, the knitting of stockings among the 
young folk of both sexes, and other useful occupations.' In a letter 
which her Grace wrote at a late period of her career to her old and 
attached friend, Henry Erskine, she says, ' For years I have given 
premiums for all kinds of domestic industry — spinning, dyeing, &c. 
— and last year had some hundreds of specimens of beautiful colours 
from the herbs of the fields, and different woollen productions. But 
there is an evil I cannot remedy without a sum of money. The 
children are neglected in body and mind : cold, hunger, and dirt, 
carries off hundreds. The cow-pox would save many ; no doctors 
for thirty miles makes many orphan families. ... I wish to add to 
the comforts of the aged, and take the children — teach them to think 
right, raise food for themselves, and prepare them to succeed to their 
fathers' farms with knowledge of all the branches of farming. . . . 
A healthy, well-regulated people must be the proud riches of this 
country: by them we can alone be deffended.' 

Robert Burns in the course of his northern tour came to Fochabers, 
and presuming on his acquaintance with the Duchess of Gordon in 
Edinburgh, to whom he had been introduced in the course of the 
preceding winter, he proceeded to Gordon Castle, leaving at the inn 
his travelling companion, William Nichol, one of the masters of the 
Edinburgh High School — a jealous, rude, and brutal pedagogue. 
The poet was received with the utmost hospitality and kindness, and 
the following entry in his diary showed how highly he appreciated 
his reception. ' The Duke made me happier than ever great man 
did — noble, princely, yet mildly condescending and affable, gay and 
kind. The Duchess witty and sensible. God bless them ! ' His 
stay was unfortunately cut short by Nichol, whose pride was inflamed 
into a high degree of passion by the fancied neglect which he had 
suffered by being left at the inn, and who insisted on proceeding 
immediately on his journey. Burns, sensible of the kindness which 
had been shown him by the Duke and Duchess, made the best return 
in his power by sending them a poem, entitled 'Castle Gordon,' 
which is not one of his happiest efforts. The Duchess had planned a 
visit of Mr. Addington, afterwards Lord Sidmouth, to Castle Gordon, 
when Burns should meet him, knowing that the English statesman 
was a warm admirer of the poetry of the Scottish bard. But the 
future Premier was unable to accept the invitation, and contented 
himself with writing and forwarding some verses expressing a warm 
admiration of the genius of the poet — which, however, had no 

340 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

practical result — and recommending him to be resigned to the want 
of worldly gear and ' grateful for the wealth of his exhaustless 

The Duchess of Gordon was noted for her freedom of speech, and 
not less for her freedom of action. She was a great admirer of Mr. 
Pitt and a steady adherent of George III. and Queen Charlotte. She 
had, consequently, no high opinion of the Prince of Wales and the 
dissolute society which he chose to frequent. Lord Harcourt men- 
tions in his diary that on one occasion 'Jack Payne,' the Prince's 
secretary, uttered some ribaldry about the Queen in the presence of 
the Duchess of Gordon. 'You little, insignificant, good-for-nothing, 
upstart, pert, chattering puppy ! ' said her Grace, ' how dare you 
name your royal master's royal mother in that style ! ' 

In her early days members of the upper classes, both male and 
female, would sometimes in a frolic make up a party to spend an 
evening in one of the underground apartments or cellars in the old 
town of Edinburgh, where they partook of oysters and porter, set 
out in flagons on a table, in a dingy wainscoted room, lighted by 
tallow candles. Brandy or rum punch was then served to the com- 
pany, and dancing followed. When the ladies had taken their 
departure in their sedan-chairs or carriages, the gentlemen proceeded 
to crown the evening by a deep debauch. On one occasion, about 
the close of last century, after the Duchess was a matron in the full 
height of her popularity as a leader of fashion, she paid a visit to 
Auld Reekie, and in company with Henry Dundas, the Scottish 
Viceroy, and other persons of the highest position, made up an 
oyster-cellar party, and devoted a winter evening to the amusement 
which they had enjoyed in the days of their youth. 

The Duchess had the reputation of being a dexterous match- 
maker, which was probably owing to the fact that no fewer than 
three dukes (Richmond, Manchester, and Bedford) and a marquis 
(Cornwaliis) became her sons-in-law. After her daughters were thus 
settled to her satisfaction, her Grace said she would now make love 
to her old husband, but she had unfortunately been anticipated in this 
praiseworthy resolution. The Duke, whom she had probably a good 
deal neglected, absorbed as she must have been in fashionable and 
political engagements, had meanwhile formed an illicit connection 
with a young woman of the name of Christie, of humble birth, who 
resided at Fochabers, in the vicinity of Gordon Castle ; and, as might 
have been expected, this liaison alienated his affections from his wife, 

The Gordons. 341 

and must have hardened his heart ; for, as the national poet of Scot- 
land justly remarks, the ' illicit love ' 

' hardens a' within, 
And petrifies the feeling.' 

The letters which the Duke wrote to Henry Erskine in 1806, show 
that he had not escaped the demoralising influence of his sinful and 
degrading connection. He compelled his wife to separate from him, 
and from her complaints respecting her circumstances, ' taxes,' and 
' double prices of everything,' the poor lady does not appear to have 
had a very liberal allowance for her support. ' For all the light- 
headedness, ' says Colonel Ferguson, ' which was her chief charac- 
teristic for so many years, her latter end was very sad. She who 
had shown so much kindness to others came to be in grievous need 
of some measure of it for herself. Robbed of her political power, 
estranged from most of her family, not even on speaking terms with 
her husband, and leading a wandering, almost a homeless life, her 
case presents a marked instance of the ephemeral character of all 
human hopes.'* 

The Duchess died on the 14th of April, 181 2. One who knew 
her well has written of her thus, ' So the great leader of fashion is 
gone at last — the Duchess of Gordon. Her last party, poor woman, 
came to the Pultney Hotel to see her coffin. She lay in state three 
days, in crimson and velvet, and she died more satisfactorily than 
one could have expected. She had an old Scottish Presbyterian 
clergyman to attend her, who spoke very freely to her, I heard, and 
she took it well.' f 

In 1820 the Duke married his mistress, by whom he had no 
legitimate issue. He died in 1827, in the eighty- second year of 
his age. 

George, the only surviving son of Duke Alexander and his 
Duchess, became the fifth and last Duke of Gordon of the male line. 
In his twentieth year he entered the army as an ensign in the 35th 
Regiment, and in the following year (179 1) he exchanged into the 
42nd Regiment, in which he served two years. He then obtained a 
commission in the 3rd Foot Guards, and took part in the Duke of 
York's first expedition to Flanders. In 1794 he raised among his 
father's retainers the famous regiment of Gordon Highlanders (the 

* Henry Erskine, p. 411. t Ibid, 415. 

342 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

92nd), of which he was appointed Lieutenant-Colonel. His father 
and mother personally assisted the Marquis in procuring suitable 
recruits for this gallant body of men, and the Duchess is said to 
have induced them to join the regiment by placing the enlistment 
shilling between her lips. The Marquis went out with his regiment 
to Gibraltar, and on his homeward voyage from Corunna to England, 
the packet in which he sailed was captured by a French privateer, 
and though he was robbed of all his effects, he was fortunately 
allowed to go on board a Swedish vessel, which landed him at 
Falmouth. The Marquis of Huntly subsequently served for up- 
wards of a year in Corsica, and in Ireland during the rebellion in 1798, 
when the good conduct and discipline of his regiment were gratefully 
acknowledged by the people. In the grievously mismanaged and 
abortive expedition to Holland, in 1799, under the Duke of York, the 
Marquis was severely wounded at the head of his regiment at the 
battle of Bergen, October 2nd. The 92nd formed part of the 
brigade commanded by Sir John Moore, who was so gratified by 
their gallant conduct that when he obtained a grant of supporters for 
his armorial bearings as a Knight of the Bath, he chose a soldier of 
the Gordon Highlanders in full uniform as one of his supporters. 

In 1809 the Marquis commanded a brigade in the unfortunate 
Walcheren expedition, under the incompetent Earl of Chatham. In 
1 8 19 he attained the rank of General, and in the following year was 
appointed Colonel of the 1st Foot Guards, which he afterwards 
exchanged for the Colonelcy of the 3rd Guards, and received the 
Grand Cross of the Bath. On the death of his father, in 1827, the 
Marquis of Huntly succeeded to the dukedom of Gordon, and was 
appointed Keeper of the Great Seal of Scotland. Shortly after he 
became Governor of Edinburgh Castle. From this time forward his 
Grace resided chiefly at Gordon Castle, where he dispensed hospi- 
tality on a magnificent scale. He died 28th May, 1836, at the age 
of sixty-six. He was survived by his Duchess, a daughter of 
Mr. Brodie of Arnhall, who was noted for her piety and benevolence, 
and the deep interest which she took in the cause of education, and 
the welfare of the agricultural labourers on the Gordon estates. 

As the Duke died without issue, the dukedom, along with the 
English peerages of Norwich and Gordon, became extinct, the 
baronies (by writ) of Mordaunt and Beauchamp fell into abeyance, 
and the marquisate and earldom of Huntly and the earldom of 
Enzie devolved upon his kinsman, George, fifth Earl of Aboyne. 

The Gordons. y, 4 ? 

6 -to 

The extensive estates of the family fell to the fifth Duke of Richmond 
and Lennox, a son of the eldest daughter of Duke Alexander, who 
succeeded to them under the entail executed by that nobleman, pre- 
ferring- his daughters and their children to his male kinsmen of the 
Aboyne branch of the family. 

A portion of these estates lying in Lochaber were sold after the 
death of the last Duke of Gordon, to the great regret of the tenantry. 
But the Gordon estates in the counties of Banff, Elgin, Aberdeen, 
and Inverness, still, according to the Doomsday Book, comprise 
269,290 acres, yielding an annual rental of ^"69, 388. 

The present Duke of Richmond (the sixth), who already enjoyed 
an English, a Scottish, and a French dukedom, was created Duke of 
Gordon of Gordon Castle, and Earl of Kinrara, in 1876. 

George, fifth Earl of Aboyne, who, on the death of the fifth 
Duke of Gordon, became ninth Marquis of Huntly, was descended 
from Lord Charles Gordon, fourth son of the second Marquis, who 
was created Earl of Aboyne by Charles II. in 1660. The title had 
previously been conferred by Charles I., in 1627, along with that of 
Viscount Melgum, on the second son of the Marquis of Huntly, who 
wa3 burned to death in the tower of Crichton of Frendraught. 
George, the eldest son of the Marquis, was created Viscount Aboyne 
in 1632, and on his succession to the Marquisate, in 1636, the title 
of Aboyne devolved on his second son, James, who died without issue 
in 1649. Earl George was the author of some poems, which have 
been preserved in local manuscript collections, but have escaped 
the notice of the historians of Scottish poetry.* There is nothing 
worthy of special notice in the lives of his son and grandson, the 
second and third Earls, but Charles, fourth Earl of Aboyne, was a 
noted agricultural improver, and set a most praiseworthy example 
of industry and economy. He succeeded his father in 1732. On 
coming of age, as his estate was small and burdened with debt, he 
thought it insufficient to enable him to live in Scotland, in a manner 
suitable to his rank. He therefore resolved to take up his residence 
in France, and had sent his luggage to Paris, when he fortunately 
changed his mind. Setting himself to improve his estate by the 
introduction of improved modes of agriculture, enclosing and sub- 
dividing the fields by the erection of stone fences, and forming plan- 
tations, he increased the value of his property to such a large extent 
that in no long time it was freed from debt, and yielded a greatly 

* Second Report of the Historical MSS. Commission, p. 180. 

344 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

increased rental. He died 28th December, 1794, in the sixty-eighth 
year of his age. By his first wife, a daughter of the Earl of Galloway, 
he had a son, who succeeded him, and two daughters, one of whom 
became the wife of William Beckford of Fonthill, the author of 
'Vathek' — 'England's wealthiest son,' as Lord Byron termed him. 
The Earl's son, George Douglas Gordon, by his second wife, daughter 
of the Earl of Morton, inherited through his mother the fine estate 
of Haliy burton, in Forfarshire, and assumed the name and arms of 

George, ninth Marquis of Huntly and fifth Earl of Aboyne, was 
born in 1761. He entered the army before he had completed his 
seventeenth year, and attained the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel of the 
Coldstream Guards. He visited France in 1783, and his handsome 
person, gallant bearing, and sprightly manners, characteristic of the 
* gay Gordons,' combined with his remarkable skill in dancing, made 
Lord Strathaven, as he was then called, a great favourite at the Court 
of Louis XIV. Marie Antoinette seems to have taken special pleasure 
in his society — a preference which attracted the attention of the 
scandal-mongers at the Court. Mirabeau, in one of his letters to the 
Count de la Marck, mentions that ' the Polignacs spoke maliciously 
of the Queen's delight in dancing ecossaises with young Lord Strath- 
aven, at the little balls which were given at Madame d'Ossun's.' His 
lordship quitted the army in 1792, shortly after his marriage to the 
second daughter of Sir Charles Cope, with whom he got the estate 
of Orton Longueville, in Huntingdonshire. 

On the death of his father, in 1794, Lord Strathaven succeeded to 
the titles of Earl of Aboyne and Lord Gordon of Strathaven and 
Glenlivet. In 1796 he was chosen one of the representative peers of 
Scotland, and retained that position in successive Parliaments until 
1 8 15, when he was created a peer of the United Kingdom, by the 
title of Lord Meldrum of Morven. 

In 1836, Lord Aboyne, on the death of the fifth Duke of Gordon, 
laid claim to the marquisate of Huntly, as the direct heir male of the 
first Marquis, and had his claim sustained by the House of Lords. 
He thus became premier Marquis of Scotland, and head of the ancient 
house of Gordon. But his accession to higher honours brought him 
no addition to his estates or income, and he fell into embarrassed 
circumstances, mainly in consequence of his purchases of the old 
Gordon territory in Inverness-shire, and other extensive estates, 

The Gordons. 


which if he had been able to hold for a few years would have brought 
a largely increased price, but in the meantime yielded only a small 
return. His difficulties were aggravated by the dishonesty of his 
confidential agent, an Edinburgh lawyer, who embezzled upwards 
of ^"80,000, and then absconded. The liabilities of the Marquis 
amounted to ,£517,500, but by the judicious management of his 
trustees, and his own prolonged life, his creditors ultimately received 
seventeen shillings in the pound. He died 17th June, 1853, within a 
fortnight of his ninety-third year, leaving a family of six sons and 
two daughters. 

His eldest son, Charles, became tenth Marquis of Huntly, repre- 
sented East Grinstead in Parliament during twelve years, and was 
member for Huntingdonshire in 1830. He was for some time a 
Lord-in-Waiting to the Queen. He died in 1863, leaving six sons 
and seven daughters, and was succeeded by his eldest son, Charles, 
eleventh Marquis of Huntly, who was born in 1847, and married, in 
1869, Amy, eldest daughter of Sir William Cunliffe Brooks, Bart. 


|HE Gordons of Methltc and Haddo, now ennobled 
under the title of Earl of Aberdeen, trace their pedigree to 
Sir William Gordon of Coldingknows, in Berwickshire, 
younger son of Sir Thomas de Gordon, grandson of the 
founder of the family in Scotland. The Gordons of Huntly, as 
we have seen, represent the house through an heir female, Elizabeth 
Gordon, who, in 1449, married Alexander de Seton, while the 
Aberdeen branch have preserved an unbroken male descent. 
Owing, however, to the loss of many of the family papers when 
Kelly, their residence, was taken and plundered by the Marquis of 
Argyll, in 1644, an d at a later period, when the house in which the 
Earl lived in Aberdeen was burned, their descent from Sir William 
Gordon cannot be traced with certainty. Sir William's son is said 
to have accompanied his cousin, Sir Adam Gordon, to the north, in 
the time of King Robert Bruce, and to have married the heiress 
of Methlic. His descendant, Patrick Gordon of Methlic, was 
killed at the battle of Brechin (May 18th, 1452), in which the Tiger 
Earl of Crawford was defeated by the Earl of Huntly. James 
Gordon, Sir Patrick's son, received from the King a gift of the 
barony of Kelly, a part of Crawford's forfeited estate. His great- 
grandson, George Gordon, though he signed, in 1567, the bond 
of association for the defence of the infant sovereign, James VI., 
became a staunch supporter of the cause of Queen Mary, under the 
banner of the Earl of Huntly, her lieutenant in the north. The head 
of the family during the Great Civil War was George Gordon's 
great-grandson, Sir John Gordon of Haddo, who succeeded to the 
family estates in 1624. When the Covenanters took up arms 
against their sovereign, King Charles appointed Sir John Gordon 
second in command to the Marquis of Huntly, his lieutenant in the 

The Gordons of Methlic and Haddo. 347 

north. He took part in the skirmish called ' The Trot of Turriff,' 
14th May, 1639, when blood was first shed in that lamentable 
contest. In 1642 he was created a baronet by the King, but the 
honour thus conferred upon him no doubt helped to make him 
obnoxious to the Covenanting Convention, who issued letters of 
intercommuning against him, and granted a warrant for his appre- 
hension. When the Marquis of Huntly took up arms on behalf of 
the King, in 1644, he was joined by Sir John Gordon, and a sentence 
of excommunication was pronounced against them both, by order of 
the General Assembly. When Huntly disbanded his forces and 
retreated into Strathnairn, in Sutherlandshire, Sir John attempted 
to defend his castle of Kelly against the Marquis of Argyll, who had 
been despatched to the north at the head of a strong force to quell 
the insurrection. Earl Marischal, Sir John's cousin, who was in 
Argyll's army, earnestly recommended him to surrender, assuring 
him that he would obtain safe and honourable terms. He accord- 
ingly capitulated, on the 8th of May. The greater part of the 
garrison was dismissed, but Sir John, Captain Logie, and four or 
five others, were detained as prisoners. The author of the history 
of the Gordon family asserts that Argyll ' destroyed and plundered 
everything that was in the house, carried away out of the garners 
180 chalders victual, killed and drove away all the horse, nolt, 
and sheep that belonged to Sir John and his tenants round about,' 
and that this ' barbarous usage touched Marischal in the most 
sensible part; he took it as an open affront to himself,' being a 
violation of the terms of surrender.* 

Sir John was conveyed to Edinburgh, and was imprisoned in 
the western division of St. Giles's Church, which in consequence 
acquired, and long retained, the name of Haddo's Hole. He was 
brought to trial before the Estates on a charge of high treason, on 
the ground that he had taken up arms against the Convention, and 
had taken part in the battle at Turriff. He pleaded that all these 
alleged offences had been indemnified by the ' Act of Pacification,' 
and produced the royal commission under which he had acted. He 
was also indicted for garrisoning his house against the Estates — a 
charge on which it appears they mainly relied for obtaining a con- 
viction. He urged in his defence that ' there were many Acts of 
Parliament making these things treason when done against the 
King, but none yet extant making them treason when done against 

* The Hisiory of the Illustrious Family nf Gordon, ii. 407. 

348 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

the Estates.' He was of course found guilty, and along with 
Captain Logie, was beheaded at the Cross of Edinburgh, on the ioth 
of July, 1644. On the scaffold he said in an audible voice to the 
crowd of spectators, in reply to one of the ministers who desired him to 
make a full confession of his sins, ' I confess myself to be a great 
sinner before God, but never transgressed against the country, or any 
in it but such as were in open rebellion against the King ; and what 
I did in that case I thought it good service, and bound to it as my 
duty by the laws of God and the land.' William Gordon says that 
' Sir John had got a very liberal education, and was a gentleman of 
excellent parts, both natural and acquired, but above all was eminent 
for his courage and valour.' * 

At the Restoration, the forfeited estates of the family were restored 
to Sir John's eldest son, who died without male issue in 1665, and 
was succeeded by his brother — 

Sir George Gordon, third Baronet and first Earl of Aberdeen, 
who was born in 1637. He was educated at Marischal College, 
Aberdeen, and for some time held the office of Professor in that 
institution. On resigning his chair he went to the Continent to study 
civil law, and was residing there when the death of his brother put 
him in possession of the family estates. On his return to Scotland 
he was admitted to the Bar, in the beginning of 1668, and speedily 
obtained a high reputation for his ability and legal knowledge. 
Crawford, in his ' History of the Officers of State,' mentions that 
during- all the time he was at the Bar he never took fees as an 
advocate, though he had abundance of clients, and many of them 
persons of the first rank. He represented the county of Aberdeen, 
in the Parliaments of 1670 and 1673, was made a member of the 
Privy Council in 1678, was appointed one of the Senators of the Col- 
lege of Justice in 1680, and was nominated President of the Court of 
Session in 168 1. In the following year he was elevated to the office 
of Lord Chancellor of Scotland. He was in London at the time this 
promotion was conferred upon him, and a few days after he embarked 
for Scotland, along with the Duke of York, in the Gloucester frigate, 
which on the 5th of May struck on the sandbank called the Lemon 
and Ore, near Yarmouth. With the exception of the Duke, Sir 
George Gordon, whom he insisted on taking with him, the Earl of 
Wintoun, and two gentlemen of the Duke's bedchamber, all on board 
* The History of the Illustrious Family of Gordon, ii. 409-13. 

The Gordons of Methlic and Haddo. 349 

perished. It had hitherto been the custom to appoint none but peers 
to the Chancellorship, and as the nomination of a Commoner gave 
great offence to many of the nobility, Sir George Gordon was created, 
November 30th, 1682, Earl of Aberdeen, Viscount Formartine, 
Lord Haddo, Methlic, Tarves, and Kellie. In the preamble of the 
patent conferring that honour upon him, mention is made in detail of 
the loyalty and important services of his ancestors, especially of the 
memorable fidelity and integrity of his father, and of his strenuous 
efforts during the Great Civil War to uphold the royal cause, for 
which he sacrificed his life and fortune. 

Lord Aberdeen held the office of Chancellor for two years, and 
resigned it for a reason highly honourable to him — his opposition to 
the proposal of the Duke of Queensberry, that husbands should be 
fined for the non-attendance of their wives at church. King James 
decided in favour of Queensberry, and Lord Aberdeen immediately 
resigned his office of Chancellor, which was conferred upon the 
Romish pervert, the Earl of Perth. 

The accounts of the Earl, which are still preserved among the 
manuscripts in Haddo House, throw interesting light both on the 
Chancellor's personal habits and on the manners of the times. His 
lordship had evidently been fond of such sports as hunting, hawk- 
ing, and horse-racing. There are frequent entries of payments made 
to the men who brought hawks, for hoods and bells, and for a hawk 
glove, and hawks' meat. A certain Patrick Logan receives £$2 
(Scots) for * goeing north with hauks;' on one occasion, 'my Lord 
goeing to the hauking,' receives^ 16s. ; on another, £ 1 2 14s. At 
that time there were horse-races at Leith, which continued to be kept 
up till a comparatively recent period. They had evidently been 
patronised by the Chancellor, for in his accounts there appear such 
items as these — ' To my Lord goeing to Leith to his race, £& 8s. ; ' 
* for weighing the men att Leith that rade,^i 8s. ; ' ' to the man that 
ran the night before the race, 18s. ; ' ' item, to the two grooms, drink 
money att winning the race at Leith, £8 8s. ; 5 ' item, to the Edin- 
burgh officers with the cup, £14'/ 'item, to the Smith boy plaitt 
the running horse feet, 14s.' 

It would appear that numerous presents were sent to the Lord 
Chancellor by his friends — no doubt with a view to conciliate the 
good-will of the powerful minister and judge. The most frequent 
present seems to have been deer. Lords Doune, Huntly, Menteith, 
and Sir Patrick Hume send deer; Lord Kinnaird, a goose; Lord 

350 The Great Historic Families of Scotla?id. 

Crawford, ' sparrow grasse ; ' the Marquis of Douglas, a Solan goose, 
doubtless from the Bass, which was in vicinity of his lordship's castle 
of Tantallon ; Lord Strathmore, English hounds ; Lord Oxford, a 
dog; the minister of Currie also sends an English hound; Gordon 
of Glenbucket, dogs ; the Captain of Clan Ranald and Macleod of 
Macleod, a hawk ; Lord Errol, ' a torsel off falcon ; ' Lord Lithgow, 
eels, peaches, and partridges ; Lord Wintoun and Lady Errol, pears ; 
Lord Dunfermline, fruit. Douceurs are given to each of the servants 
bringing these presents, varying from 7s. to £2 iSs. (Scots). 

Payments for books show that the Lord Chancellor was not 
neglecting his legal studies. * To Sir Jo. Dalrymple's man with 
Stair's Decisions' £2 18s. was paid; ' Sir James Turner's man with 
a book, £ 1 9s. ; ' ' to my Lord Glendoyick's man, for Acts of Parlia- 
ment, £ 1 9s. ; ' ' for Grotius, De Jure Belli et Facis, £2 18s.' 

The entries relating to the Lord Chancellor's dress are not the 
least curious and interesting part of the accounts. ' Gloves to my 
Lord' cost jf2 18s.; 'a pock to my Lord's hatt,' 7s. iod. A cobbler 
received 14s. for 'dressing my Lord's boots.' His lordship's expenses 
in London were on a much larger scale. ' Two fyne shirts and a 
poynt gravat' were charged £10 15s. sterling (Scots money was 
unknown in the Great Metropolis) ; ' a castor hatt to my Lord ' cost 
£1 ; 'a fyne pirie wig, £5 5s.' Five shillings was paid to ' Dun- 
fermling's man to trim my Lord.' ' Takeing a coatch over water to 
Windsor' was charged is. ; 'a hackney chair to my Lord, five days, 
17s. 6d. ; ' and the same sum was paid ' for my Lord's lodgeing five 
nights att Windsor.' The Chancellor's travelling expenses ' comeing 
up to London ' amounted to £10. The footmen of the King, Queen, 
and Duke of York received from him in gratuities the sum of 
£$ 4s. 6d. The total expenses incurred in his journey to London 
and back, and remaining a fortnight in the metropolis, amounted to 
/150 17s. 4d. 

The Earl's travelling expenses even at home were by no means 
light, as appears from such entries as — ' To my Lord himself goeing 
to Cranstoun, £17 8s. ; ' ' to my Lord goeing to Lauderdale's funeral, 
£g 1 6s. ;' for 'drink and accommodation in Mrs. Bennett's' — doubt* 
less an inn — -^"35 9s. 8d. was paid, and the same sum, bating the 
shillings and pence, for ' five horses post from Burntisland to Aber- 
deen,' and ' for our lawing [reckoning] in Aberdeen at night, 
£6y is.;' for 'lime and sack there in the morning, £$.' Falstaff's 
complaint that lime had been put in his sack, shows the common 

The Gordons of Methlic and Haddo. 351 

usage at that time. But the travelling expenses appear to have been 
greatly exceeded by the gratuities which the Lord Chancellor had 
to give to footmen, trumpeters, ' musitioners,' fiddlers, pipers, 
drummers, porters, and retainers of every sort. The heaviest item 
of all was for ' drink money.' On one occasion £13 (Scots) was 
paid for drink money at Abbotshall; on another, £11 12s. for drink 
money at Cupar. On a journey to Gordon Castle there was paid for 
' drink money at Craig of Boyne, £8 14s. ; ' ' for drink money at the 
Booge, ^17 8s. ;' and 'to the two footmen to drink by the way, 
7s.' On a journey from Kellie to Edinburgh, £8 14s- was paid for 
drink money to the drummers of Aberdeen ; £2 18s. for drink 
money to ' Widow Burnet, tapster ; ' and £ 1 gs. for drink money to 

The Earl was evidently open-handed, and wherever he went gave 
liberally, not only to servants but to the poor and needy. A ' poor 
body at Athroes ' got 9s.; a poor scholar, 14s,; ' one Johnston, a 
poet,' £5 1 6s. ; a poor seaman, £1 9s. ; ' ane distracted wyfe, called 
Johnston,' 14s.; 'a poor gentlewoman,' £1 9s.; 'to the poor at 
Dundee,' 10s. ; 'to the poor at Glammis,' 12s.; 'to the poor at 
Cullen of Boyne,' 7s. When his lordship attended church he did 
not neglect 'the collection,' as is shown by the entry, ' To my Lord 
goeing to church,' £1 9s. The church officers were not forgotten. 
'The beddels that keips my Lady's seatt' received a gratuity of 
£2 1 8s. ; 'the beddels of the Abay church' got £1 gs. Another 
entry — ' Item, to the clerk and beddels quhen Katherin was baptised' 
— shows that at that early period the custom existed, which has come 
down to our own day, of giving a gratuity to the beadle in attendance 
at baptisms. Finally, ' My Lady's receipts for house furnishing 
from the 15th of January to the 4th of June, 1683/ amounted to 
,£1,946 17s. 4d.* 

After his resignation of his office, Lord Aberdeen devoted his 
attention to the management and improvement of his estates. At 
the Revolution he remained in the country for some time, in order 
to avoid giving his adherence to the new sovereigns, and he was 
repeatedly fined for his absence from Parliament. On the accession 
of Queen Anne, however, he took the oath of allegiance, and attended 
one or two sessions of her Parliament. He died at Kelly, on the 
20th of April, 1720, in the eighty-third year of his age. By his wife, 
daughter and heiress of George Lockhart of Torbrecks, the Earl 

* Fifth Report of the Historical Manuscripts Commission, pp. 609-611. 

352 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

had, with four daughters, two sons ; George, Lord Haddo, who pre- 
deceased him, and — 

William, second Earl, who was chosen one of the representative 
peers of Scotland. He died in 1746, in his seventieth year. He was 
three times married. Alexander Gordon, his third son by his third 
wife, a daughter of the second Duke of Gordon, was appointed one 
of the Senators of the Court of Session, with the title of Lord 

George, third Earl, eldest son of the second Earl, like his father, 
was one of the sixteen representative peers. He died in 1801. He 
had four daughters and two sons, the elder of whom, George, Lord 
Haddo, predeceased him, having died in 1 791, in consequence of 
injuries received by a fall from his horse. He left six sons and one 
daughter. His second and sixth sons entered the navy, and each at- 
tained the rank of vice-admiral. Sir Alexander Gordon, his third son, 
was a lieutenant-colonel in the army, and aide-de-camp, first to his 
uncle, Sir David Baird, and afterwards to the Duke of Wellington. 
He was mortally wounded at the battle of Waterloo, and died on the 
following day. The Duke, in a letter communicating the sad intelli- 
gence to the Earl of Aberdeen, Sir Alexander's brother, says, ' He 
had served me most zealously and usefully for many years, and on 
many trying occasions ; but he had never rendered himself more 
useful and had never distinguished himself more than in our late 
actions. He received the wound which occasioned his death when 
rallying one of the Brunswick battalions which was shaking a little ; 
and he lived long enough to be informed by myself of the glorious 
result of our actions, to which he had so much contributed by his 
active and zealous assistance.' 

Sir Robert Gordon, G.C.B., fifth son of Lord Haddo, attained 
high rank and distinction in the diplomatic service of the country. 
The eldest son — 

George Hamilton Gordon, born in 1784, became fourth Earl of 
Aberdeen on the death of his grandfather in 180 1. He was educated 
at Harrow, and at St. John's College, Cambridge, where he took the 
degree of M.A. in 1804. After completing his studies, he travelled 
for some time in Italy and Greece, and, on his return, was one of the 
founders of the Athenian Society, whose members are restricted to 

The Gordons of Methlic and Haddo. 353 

persons who have visited Athens. Hence the Earl was termed by 
Lord Byron, in his ' English Bards and Scotch Reviewers ' — 

' The travell'd thane, Athenian Aberdeen.' 

Lord Aberdeen entered Parliament in 1806 as one of the Scottish 
representative peers, was chosen a second time in 1807, and in 
18 13, when barely twenty-nine years of age, he was sent on a special 
mission to Vienna for the purpose of inducing the Emperor of 
Austria to join the alliance against his son-in-law, the Emperor 
Napoleon. He performed this delicate and difficult task with great 
success, and signed at Toplitz the preliminary treaty in which Austria 
united with Great Britain and Russia against France. The Earl was 
present at Lutzen and Bautzen, and other great battles in the cam- 
paigns of 1 813- 14, and rode over the field of Leipsic, in company 
with Humboldt, after the three days' sanguinary conflict. It was he 
who persuaded Murat, King of Naples, to abandon the cause of his 
imperial brother-in-law, and he subsequently took part in the nego- 
tiations rendered necessary by the return of Napoleon from Elba. 
In 1 8 14, he was created Viscount Gordon of Aberdeen, in the peer- 
age of the United Kingdom. He was a steady supporter of Lord 
Liverpool's Government, and the Tory party; in January, 1828, 
he became Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, and shortly 
after, on the resignation of the Canningites, he was appointed 
Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs in the administration of the 
Duke of Wellington — a position which he held for nearly three 
years. On the overthrow of the Duke's Ministry, the Earl of course 
retired from office, and with the exception of a few months in 1834- 
1835, when he filled the post of Colonial Secretary in the short-lived 
administration of Sir Robert Peel, he remained in Opposition until 
1 84 1, when Peel became once more Prime Minister, and Lord 
Aberdeen was reinstalled in the Foreign Office. He loyally sup- 
ported his chief against the fierce attacks of the Protectionists on the 
abolition of the Corn Laws, and in all his Free Trade policy. His 
own administration of foreign affairs was cautious and pacific, yet 
firm and dignified ; and in the dispute with the Government of the 
United States on the Oregon question he steadily upheld the 
honour and interests of the country, while he contrived to avert 
the evils of war, which at one time seemed imminent. 

When the controversy arose in the Established Church of Scot- 
land, respecting the Veto Law, and the right of the people to reject 


354 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

an unacceptable presentee, Lord Aberdeen, who took a waim interest 
in the affairs of the Church in whica he was an office-bearer, under- 
took to prepare a Bill which he expected would have the effect of 
healing those dissensions that were threatening to rend the Church 
in pieces. His lordship had publicly expressed his conviction that 
* the will of the people had always formed an essential ingredient in 
the election to the pastoral office,' and the professed object of the 
measure which he prepared, was to prevent the intrusion of a presen- 
tee on a congregation who refused to receive him as their minister. 
But when the Bill was introduced into the House of Lords, it was 
found to be essentially at variance with the principles of the Non- 
Intrusion party. They insisted that the Church courts should have 
power to reject a presentee simply on the ground that he was unac- 
ceptable to the people. But Lord Aberdeen proposed to give effect 
to the objections of the parishioners to the presentee only when these 
were sufficient, in the judgment of the Presbytery, to warrant his 
rejection. On this and some other similar grounds, Lord Aberdeen's 
Bill was condemned by the General Assembly of May, 1 841, by a 
great majority, and was abandoned at the time by its author. A 
painful controversy in consequence ensued between Lord Aberdeen 
and Dr. Chalmers. There seem to have been misunderstandings 
on both sides respecting the precise nature and extent of the 
powers which the Earl intended to confer upon the Church courts ; 
but there can be little doubt that he had been induced to quit the 
ground which he originally took up, by the urgent representations 
of some of the leaders of the Moderate party, and especially of 
Mr. John Hope, the Dean of Faculty, who, more than any other 
person, was instrumental in bringing about the disruption of the 
Scottish Church. 

After the catastrophe had taken place, Lord Aberdeen's despised 
and rejected Bill was passed into a law. It had no effect in repairing 
the breach that had been made in the Church, and the results, as 
Lord Cockburn remarked, were ' great discontent among the people, 
great caprice and tyranny in the Church courts, great grumbling 
among patrons, yet no regular or effective check on the exercise of 
patronage.' It had ultimately to be repealed, having been produc- 
tive of nothing but mischief and universal dissatisfaction. Lord 
Aberdeen was surprised and deeply grieved at the disruption of the 
Established Church, having been made to believe that only a small 
number of ministers and people would secede, and he repeatedly 

The Gordons of Methlic and Haddo. 355 

expressed his great regret that he had unwittingly contributed to 
bring about this catastrophe. 

Lord Aberdeen retired from office in 1846, when the Protectionists, 
in revenge, broke up Sir Robert Peel's Government. On the death 
of that distinguished statesman, his lordship became the virtual 
head of his party, and during the ministerial crisis of 1851 he was 
requested by the Queen to form a Ministry, in conjunction with Sir 
James Graham, but was obliged to decline the responsible and diffi- 
cult task. When the short-lived administration of Lord Derby was 
overthrown in the following year, a coalition was formed between the 
Whigs and the Peelites, and Lord Aberdeen was placed at the head 
of the Government, which combined almost all the men of talent and 
experience in the House of Commons. They carried out a number 
of important reforms in home affairs, especially in financial arrange- 
ments. The nation seemed to be entering on a period of great 
prosperity and progress when this fair prospect was suddenly over- 
cast by the war between Russia and Turkey, in which Great Britain 
and France were reluctantly involved. Lord Aberdeen had long 
before penetrated the designs of Russia upon Turkey, and had in 
his despatches denounced in decided terms the ambition and faith- 
lessness of the Czar Nicholas. He felt strongly, he said, the dis- 
honourable unfairness of the Russians. They presumed on his being 
Premier, and thought he would not go to war. Lord Aberdeen had, 
indeed, an undisguised horror of war, which he justly regarded as 
one of the greatest evils, and strove to maintain peace after the voice 
of the nation had unequivocally declared for an armed resistance to the 
unprincipled designs of Russia. The country thus ' drifted into war,' 
for which no adequate preparation had been made. When the Cri- 
mean disasters took place, Lord John Russell, who had long been 
impatient under the Premiership of Lord Aberdeen, whom he expected 
to have made way for his own elevation to the chief place in the 
Cabinet, suddenly resigned his office, and the administration was in 
consequence broken up, but not until it had carried several important 
measures for the reform of the law, the government of India, the 
opening of the University of Oxford, the improvement of the con- 
dition of the people, and the extension of the principles of free 

On the retirement of Lord Aberdeen from the office of First Lord 
of the Treasury, he was made a Knight of the Garter, and the Queen, 
as a rare and signal token of royal favour, commanded him to retain 

356 The Great Historic Families of Scotla?id. 

also the Order of the Thistle, of which his lordship was the senior 
knight, having- received the green ribbon as far back as the year 
1808. From that period onward Lord Aberdeen did not take any 
prominent part in public affairs, though his administrative ability 
and high character gave him great weight in the legislature. 

Lord Aberdeen belonged to the solid, not to the showy, class of 
statesmen. He had a clear head, a sound judgment, a liberal disposi- 
tion, vast experience, and unblemished integrity. Notwithstanding 
his long connection with the Tory party, he was thoroughly Liberal 
in his policy, both foreign and domestic. He was of a somewhat 
reserved temperament and studious habits, and was distinguished 
for his refined taste in all matters connected with the fine arts. He 
was the author of an ' Introduction ' to ' Wilkins' Translation of 
Vitruvius' Civil Architecture,' which he published in an extended 
form as a distinct work in 1822, under the title of 'An Inquiry into 
the Principles of Beauty in Grecian Architecture.' 

There are a number of interesting references to the Earl scattered 
through the diary and the letters of Bishop Wilberforce. Sir James 
Graham told him that, when Lord Melbourne went out of office, he 
said to the Queen, ' Madam, you will not like Peel, but you will like 
Aberdeen. He is a gentleman.' Sir James added, ' He has a great 
tenderness for the sex; a most entirely good man, very affectionate 
and true.' The Bishop, writing from Buchanness, October 15th, 1856, 
says : ' It is delightful to walk and converse with the good old Earl. 
He is full of history, manners, and men. All his judgments are fair, 
and candid, and true, in the highest possible degree, but at the same 
time there is a slight tinge of humour in his judgment of men, and a 
clear discernment of character, which is delightful.' In his diary, 
under the date of February 7th, 1855, the Bishop says : ' Lord Aber- 
deen, natural, simple, good, and honest as ever.' The Earl must 
have had a very conciliatory and persuasive manner. George IV. 
was always partial to him, and when the Earl was sent by his col- 
leagues to that Sybarite he used to say to him, 'What thing 

have I got to yield to now, that they have sent you to break it 
to me? ' 

Lord Aberdeen was a skilful and enterprising agricultural improver. 
When he came into possession of his estate at Haddo, there were 
only the limes and a few Scottish firs on it. He planted about four- 
teen millions of trees, and lived to see whole forests which he had 
planted rise into maturity and beauty. 

The Gordons of Methlic and Haddo. 357 

The Earl was Chancellor of King's College and University, Aber- 
deen, President of the British Institution, a Governor of Harrow and 
of the Charterhouse, and Lord -Lieutenant of Aberdeenshire. He 
died at Stanmore, on December 14th, i860, in the seventy-seventh 
year of his age. Bishop Wilberforce, who officiated, says, ' Lord 
Aberdeen's funeral was most striking. The vault was in an old ivy- 
grown corner of the old church, now demolished, just under the old 
tower. The heavy tread of the bearers crushed the snow, the great 
flakes falling heavily through the whole service ; the form, in par- 
ticular, amongst the pall-bearers, of Sir James Graham, with his 
massive figure and large bald head, bare, with the snow falling 
on it; Arthur Gordon's sorrow; Gladstone with his face speaking; 
Newcastle ; the WgYitfrom within the vault : a most impressive sight, 
engraven on my memory for ever.' * 

George John James, Lord Haddo, succeeded his father as fifth 
Earl of Aberdeen. He was born in 18 16, and died in 1864, leaving 
by his wife, a daughter of Mr. Baillie of Jerviswood, and sister of the 
tenth Earl of Haddington, three sons and three daughters. 

George Hamilton, sixth Earl, his eldest son, born in 1841, from 
his earliest years displayed a strong liking for a seafaring life. When 
a mere child he used to go out with the herring boats at Boddom, 
and remain with the fishermen all night. Shortly after his accession 
to the earldom he resolved to gratify this passion for a sailor's life, 
and in January, 1866, he sailed from Liverpool in a large sailing 
vessel, called the Pomona, bound to St. John's, New Brunswick. 
After a protracted voyage the vessel reached its destination, and the 
Earl spent the month of April with his uncle, Sir Arthur Gordon, 
who was at that time Governor of New Brunswick. He then pro- 
ceeded to Boston, where he stayed some weeks in a hotel, and 
dropping his title, assumed the name of ' George H. Osborne.' 
Under that designation he embarked, in the month of June, in a 
vessel bound for Palmas, in the Canaries. One of the sailors, with 
whom he appears to have become somewhat intimate, says, ' He was 
not dressed as a sailor, and I was surprised to find he had shipped as 
one. His hands were tender, and they soon got blistered ; mine were 
then in a similar state, and we joked about it. But he was always 
active, willing, and energetic, and took a fair share of all the work. 

* Life of Bis hop Wiiberforce, ii. 465. 

35& The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

He made himself most popular with officers and crew. . . . He told 
me Osborne was an assumed name, and that his real name was 
Gordon ; but, he said, I must not mention it on board ship.' 

In July, 1866, the Earl was at Palmas, on the coast of Africa, 
whence he wrote an interesting letter to his mother. He was dis- 
covered to have served, in 1867, on board the schooner Arthur 
Burton, bound for Vera Cruz, with a cargo of corn. At that time the 
Mexican War was going on, and Vera Cruz was being bombarded, 
and a cannon-ball struck a house close to which he was standing. 
He immediately placed his head in the hole the ball had made, and 
remained in that position till the cannonading ceased. ' I thought it 
unlikely,' he said in a letter to his mother, ' that another shot would 
come just to that same spot; but while I was there seven people 
were killed in the same square.' 

In February, 1867, he resided for some time in Boston, assiduously 
studying navigation at the Nautical College there, and obtained from 
the college authorities a certificate of his possessing the requisite 
skill and judgment for the first officer of any ship in the merchant 
service. Early in that year he sailed from New York to Galveston, 
Texas, with ' a good Boston captain,' named John Wilson, who was 
a Baptist and a teetotaller. On the 1 2th of August he wrote from 
New York to his mother, mentioning that he had just arrived from 
Mexico, and giving a vivid description of the imminent danger to 
which his vessel had been exposed, 'a whole night and part of a day 
bumping on a sandbank, in a sea full of sharks, on an inhospitable 
and dangerous coast, where sand-flies, horse-flies, and mosquitos 
abound, and where at night can be heard the savage roar of the 
tigers and wild animals which inhabit the impervious tropical jungle 
which lines the coast and comes right down to the beach.' He made 
another narrow escape in the Gulf Stream on New Year's Eve, 
described in a letter to his mother dated 10th February, 1868. 
Another letter to Lady Aberdeen, dated 1st December, 1868, gives 
an account of his deliverance from a still more imminent danger. 

' Not many weeks ago,' he says, ' I thought my last hour was 
come. I was in a small vessel, deep loaded, and very leaky. A 
furious gale came on right on shore. The water gained on us — we 
could not keep her free. As morning dawned the gale increased, if 
possible, in violence. To windward there was nothing but rain and 
wind, and the ever-rising white-capped billows. To leeward was the 
low quicksand, with roaring billows, on to which we were slowly but 

The Gordons of Methlic and Haddo. 359 

surely drifting-. We carried an awful press of sail, but the poor 
water-logged steamer lay over on her beam-ends, and made two miles 
to leeward for every one ahead. We were toiling at the pumps and 
throwing overboard our deck load ; but already there was five foot of 
water in the hold, and nothing could have saved us but a miracle, or 
a change of wind. At 10 a.m. God in his mercy sent a sudden 
change of wind all in a moment, right off the shore, with perfect 
floods of rain, which beat down the sea, and in half an hour the wind 
moderated. After toiling seventeen hours we got a suck on the 
pumps, and took heart of grace, and eat a little food. Next day we 
made the harbour of New York, where I now am. To-morrow we 
start for a coast famed for its tales of piracy, wrecking, and murder 
— the coast of Florida. But those times are past, and now it is only 
dangerous on account of its numerous shoals and sunken rocks. 
Give my love to all dear ones, and believe in the never-dying love of 
your affectionate son, George.' 

There is abundant evidence that Lord Aberdeen, while keeping up 
the accomplishments which he had cultivated at home, had acquired a 
thorough knowledge of the profession which for a time he had chosen 
to follow. ' He was a first-rate navigator,' said one who knew him 
only as a sailor, 'and no calculation ever puzzled him.' An Ame- 
rican carpenter, named Green, with whom he seems to have been on 
intimate terms, says, ' He drew beautifully. He was an excellent 
seaman and navigator. He was very fond of reading and music. He 
used to play very often on a piano in my house. He was very good 
to children. My wife had a little sister who was often in the house, 
and George used to take a great deal of notice of her, and often buy 
her little presents : she was four or five years old. I remember 
George had a revolver on board the Walton, and I have often seen 
him at sea throw a corked bottle overboard and break it with a shot 
from his revolver. He was a first-rate shot both with pistol and 
rifle. I have seen him snuff a candle with a pistol-bullet at five or 
six yards.' 

All who came into familiar intercourse with George Osborne bear 
testimony to his sincere but unostentatious piety, as might have been 
expected from his training by pious parents. His daily perusal of 
the Holy Scriptures is frequently mentioned by his companions, and 
his regular attendance at church while on shore. The testimony 
is not less strong to his strict moral conduct, and his earnest efforts 
to promote the spiritual interests of the sailors with whom he came 

360 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

in contact. He lived on his wages as a seaman, and even saved a 
little money from them. He was of a most obliging disposition, and 
always ready to lend a helping hand to relieve distress. In his boy- 
hood he showed a taste for mechanics, frequently working with the 
carpenter on his father's estate ; and his handiness, along with his 
energy and activity, made him of great use on board ship. His 
affection for his family, and especially for his mother, was remark- 
ably strong and tender. In a letter to her, dated New York, 12th 
August, 1867, he says : — 

' My dearest Mamma, — 1 hope you are keeping well. I am now 
with a very good man. It is good for me to be here; he is the same 
I went to Galveston with, but I must leave him to-day. I hope 
you will get this letter, and that it will cheer your heart ; it tells you 
of my undiminished love, though I have not heard of or from you 
for more than a year.' 

On the 1st of December, 1868, he wrote to Lady Aberdeen : — 

' I must come and see you soon, though it is so long since I have 
heard, that a sort of vague dread fills my mind, and I seem to feel 
rather to go on in doubt than to learn what would kill me, or drive me 
to worse — I mean were I to return and not find you. How many 
times has this thought come to me in the dark and cheerless night 
watches ; but I have to drive it from me as too dreadful to think of. 
I wonder where you are now, and what you are doing. I know you 
are doing something good, and a blessing to all around you.' 

On the 15th of March, 1867, the Earl wrote from Honiton, Texas, 
in a similar strain to his younger brother, James Gordon : — 

' I have never seen an approach to a double of you or of mamma. 
I know there cannot be her double in the world. She has not an 
equal. . . . My best love to dear mamma ; I think of her only ; she 
is always in my thoughts.' 

One of the incidents which helped to prove the identity of the Earl 
with George Osborne was the fondness of the latter for a song which 
used to be sung by Lady Aberdeen, and which he stated had been 
a favourite song of his mother. 

Although Lord Aberdeen frequently expressed a great liking for 
America and the Americans, he had no intention of remaining per- 
manently absent from Scotland. In several of his letters he inti- 

The Gordons of Methlic and Haddo. 361 

mated that he meant to return home, but he was induced to prolong 
his seafaring life from finding that the change of climate had im- 
proved his health, which had been delicate in his own country. 
Several months passed in 1869 without any letter from him, and the 
anxiety of the family respecting him became so intense and painful 
that the Rev. William Alexander, a Presbyterian clergyman, who 
had been his lordship's tutor, volunteered to go in search of him, in 
November, 1870. The difficulties he had to encounter in this enter- 
prise were very great, as even the name which the Earl had assumed 
was not known. After long and laborious inquiries, Mr. Alexander 
at length succeeded in finding the ' good Boston captain,' the Baptist 
and teetotaller, with whom the Earl had sailed from New York to 
Galveston, Texas, in 1867, an d he, on being shown the photograph 
of Lord Aberdeen, declared it to be the likeness of a young man 
named George Osborne, who had been in his ship on the voyage 
mentioned. Furnished with this clue, and assisted by the agent of 
the present Earl, Mr. Alexander succeeded in tracing the career of 
Osborne to its sad close. He had engaged himself as mate on board 
a small vessel called the Hera, which sailed from Boston to Mel- 
bourne on the 2 1 st of January, 1870, with a crew of only eight persons 
besides the captain, and on the night of the 27th he was washed over- 
board in a state of the weather which rendered it hopeless to rescue 
him. The identity of George Osborne with Lord Aberdeen was 
clearly established by photographs, by handwriting, and by a com- 
parison of the various occurrences of Osborne's career during the 
years 1866 — 1870 with those which Lord Aberdeen's letters recorded 
as having happened to himself.* There could therefore be no doubt 
of the fate of this excellent young nobleman, whose untimely death, 
in the flower of his youth, caused great sorrow among his relations 
and the tenantry on his estates. 

His brother James, second son of the fifth Earl, predeceased him 
in 1868, and he was succeeded by his youngest brother, John Camp- 
bell Hamilton Gordon, born in 1847. The Earl is Lord-Lieutenant 
of Aberdeenshire, was for several years Lord High Commissioner to 
the General Assembly of the Established Church of Scotland, and in 
1886 was appointed Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland. According to the 
' Doomsday Book,' the family estates comprehend 63,422 acres, with 
a rental 0^40,765. 

* T/ie Rise of Great Families, by Sir Bernard Burke, pp. 155-80. 


HE Gordons of Kenmure are descended from William de 
Gordon, second son of Sir Adam de Gordon, the founder 
of the main branch of the family. He received from his 
father the barony of Stichell, in the vicinity of Gordon, 
and also the lands of Glenkens, in the stewartry of Kirkcudbright, 
comprising - Kenmure, Lochinvar, and the other estates of the Gor- 
dons in that district, which had previously belonged to the Douglases 
and the Maxwells. His grandson, who bore his name, was the first 
of the family who settled in Galloway, and his descendants, rising 
on the ruins of the Black Douglases, and sending out numerous 
branches, gradually increased their possessions in that district, until 
they were by far the largest landowners in the stewartry of Kirkcud- 
bright. Sir Alexander Gordon, the seventh Laird of Lochinvar, 
fell at the battle of Flodden, and was succeeded by his brother, Sir 
Robert, whose claims, after a long contention before the Lords of 
Council, were preferred to those of Sir Alexander's daughter. Sir 
James Gordon, Sir Robert's eldest son, held the office of Royal Cham- 
berlain to the Lordship of Galloway, and was also appointed Governor 
of the town and castle of Dumbarton. He was killed at the battle of 
Pinkie, ioth September, 1547. His eldest son, Sir John, was, in 1555, 
appointed Justiciary of the Lordship of Galloway. He was for some 
time an adherent of Queen Mary, but in 1567 joined the associated 
barons in support of the infant King. Sir Robert, his eldest son, 
was noted for his physical strength, activity, and prowess, and not 
less for his exploits against the English Borderers and the free- 
booters of Annandale, who frequently carried their plundering excur- 
sions into Galloway. 

Sir John Gordon of Lochinvar, the elder son of this gallant 

The Gordons of Kenmure. 363 

Gordon, by his wife, a daughter of the first Earl of Ruthven, was 
elevated to the peerage, by the title of Viscount Kenmure and Lord 
Lochinvar, by Charles I. when he visited Scotland, in 1633, for the 
purpose of his coronation. Sir John had previously, in 1629, ob- 
tained from that monarch the charter of the royal burgh of New 
Galloway, which was at that time created on the Kenmure estate. 
Lord Kenmure was distinguished for his personal piety as well as for 
his attachment to Presbyterian principles, and was the intimate friend 
of the famous John Welch, son-in-law of John Knox, with whom he 
resided some time in France, and also of Gillespie and Samuel 
Rutherford. It was through his influence that Rutherford was 
appointed minister of Anwoth in 1627, and that famous divine dedi- 
cated to the Viscount his first work, entitled, ' Exercitationes Apolo- 
geticae pro Divina Gratia,' &c. The Viscount sold the ancient family 
estate of Stichell, in order, it was said, to obtain the forfeited earl- 
dom of Gowrie, to which he laid claim through his mother. It was 
reported that the money was paid to the Duke of Buckingham, who 
had undertaken to support the claim, but in consequence of the 
assassination of the Duke the very next day, the Viscount both lost 
his money and failed in his object. The report, however, does not 
rest on any satisfactory evidence. Lord Kenmure died in 1634, 
in the thirty-fifth year of his age. Rutherford, who attended him 
on his deathbed, wrote a tract, entitled, ' The last and heavenly 
Speeches and glorious Departure of John, Viscount Kenmure.' Lady 
Kenmure, the Viscount's widow, who lived to a great age, took for 
her second husband, in 1640, the Hon. Sir Harry Montgomery of 
Giffin, and was a constant correspondent of Rutherford. 

John Gordon, the only son of the first Viscount, died unmarried 
in 1639, and the title passed to his cousin, John Gordon, grandson 
of Sir John Gordon of Lochinvar. He also died unmarried, in 1643, 
and was succeeded by his brother Robert, fourth Viscount, who 
suffered severely for his attachment to the royal cause in the Great 
Civil War, and was excepted from Cromwell's Act of Grace and 
Pardon in 1654. The family never recovered from the blow which 
they then received. Their power and prestige were gone, their 
extensive estates dwindled away, and the heads of this once great 
house, frowned on by the Court and the Government, and ungrate- 
fully treated even by the exiled monarch in whose cause they had 
lost and suffered so much, spent their days in obscurity and neglect, 

364 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

on the remnant of their patrimonial inheritance. On the death of 
Lord Robert without issue, in 1663, the title devolved on Alexander 
Gordon of Pennygame, who, like the third Viscount, was a descendant 
of Sir John Gordon of Lochinvar. He died in 1698. 

His only son, William, sixth Viscount, unfortunately for himself 
and his family, quitted his retirement and took an active part in the 
rebellion of 17 15. At the head of a body of a hundred and fifty 
horse, including the Earl of Nithsdale and a number of the Roman 
Catholic gentry of the western frontier, Lord Kenmure proclaimed 
the Chevalier St. George as James VIII. at Moffat, Lochmaben, 
Hawick, and other Border towns. He then joined the Northum- 
brian insurgents, commanded by the presumptuous and incompetent 
Forster, and marched with them into England. Though in the well- 
known Jacobite ballad, ' Kenmure's on and awa',' he is designated 
'the bravest lord that ever Galloway saw,' the Viscount, from his 
mild and modest disposition, and his want of military experience, was 
altogether unfit to be a leader in such an expedition. Indeed, there 
is reason to believe that, like his ill-starred coadjutor, the Earl of 
Derwentwater, he would never have engaged in such a foolish enter- 
prise had it not been for the urgent importunity of his wife, the only 
sister of the sixth Earl of Carnwath, who also forfeited his titles and 
estates in the cause of the Stewarts. Lord Kenmure fought with the 
hereditary courage of his race at the barricades of Preston, where he 
was taken prisoner and conveyed to London, pinioned with cords 
and exposed to the insults of the populace. He was tried on a 
charge of treason, found guilty, and condemned to be executed. He 
suffered the penalty of the law (24th February, 17 16) with great 
firmness, expressing his regret that he had pleaded guilty at his 
trial to the charge of treason, and prayed for ' King James.' 

The widowed Viscountess of Kenmure, a woman of great energy 
and courage, hastened down to Scotland by herself, after the execu- 
tion of her husband, and secured his letters and other important 
papers. When his estates were exposed for sale, with the assistance 
of some friends, she was enabled to purchase them, and through her 
excellent management, when her eldest son, Robert, came of age, 
she handed the patrimonial property over to him entirely unencum- 
bered, reserving only a small annuity for herself. She died at 
Terregles in 1776, having survived her husband the long period of 
sixty years. 

The eldest son of the Viscount who laid down his life for the 

The Gordons of Kenmure. 365 

cause of the exiled family, died in 1741 ; and John Gordon, the 
second son, was, by courtesy, eighth Viscount. He was an officer in 
the royal army, and by his wife, a daughter of the Earl of Seaforth, 
he had a family of five sons and one daughter. But four of his sons, 
who, like their uncles, were in the military service of the Crown, 
died unmarried. John Gordon, the eldest surviving son of the 
titular eighth Viscount, born in 1750, was a captain in the 17th 
Regiment of foot, and in 1784 was elected member for the Stewartry 
of Kirkcudbright. He was restored by Parliament, in 1788, to the 
forfeited honours of his family, but died without issue, in 1840, in 
the ninety-first year of his age. He was succeeded by his nephew — 

Adam Gordon, a distinguished naval officer, who shared in the 
glories of Trafalgar, and other British victories. He was the 
eleventh Viscount in succession, but, owing to the attainder of 17 16, 
only the eighth in the enjoyment of the peerage. At his death, in 
1847, the family titles became dormant, perhaps extinct; but his 
estates were inherited by his sister, the Hon. Mrs. Louise Bellamy 


HE cadets of the Gordon family are numerous and influ- 
ential, especially in the north of Scotland, and not a few 
of them have acquired great distinction in the service 
of their country. 

The Gordons of Earlston, in the Stewartry of Kirkcudbright, are 
descended from Alexander Gordon, second son of the sixth Lord of 
Lochinvar. He embraced the doctrines of Wicliffe, and used to read 
the New Testament in English to some of his followers at their meet- 
ings in the woods of Aird. Alexander, the head of that family in the 
time of Charles I., strenuously opposed the attempt of that monarch 
to establish Episcopacy in Scotland. His son, William Gordon, 
suffered severe persecution for his adherence to the cause of the 
Covenanters, and was killed by some English dragoons when on his 
way to join the insurgents at Bothwell Bridge. His eldest son, 
Alexander, was sentenced to death in his absence in 1680. He was 
afterwards captured on board ship in 1683, but his life was spared 
by the intercession of the Duke of Gorion. He was detained a 
prisoner successively in the castle of Edinburgh, on the- Bass Rock, 
and in Blackness Castle, till the Revolution, when he obtained his 
liberty and the restoration of his estates. 

The Gordons of Pitlurg, in Aberdeenshire, are descended from 
John de Gordon, who, in 1376, received a grant of Strabolgie from 
Robert II. In the same county are the Gordons of Abergeldie, Ward- 
house, and Fyvie, the Gordons of Gordonstoun and Letterfourie, in 
Banffshire, the Gordons of Embo in Sutherlandshire, &c. &c. The 
Gordons of Gight, now extinct, sprang from the second son of the 
second Earl of Huntly, and the Princess Jane, daughter of James I. 
They seem to have been men of a fierce disposition and passionate 

The Gordons of Earhton, Gight, etc. 367 

temper, and were repeatedly guilty of outrages of the most violent 
nature. On one occasion, in September, 1601, a messenger was 
sent to deliver letters to the Laird of Gight, summoning him to 
answer for his conduct in not only destroying the crops of certain 
persons against whom he had ' conceived mortal wrath,' but wound- 
ing them to the imminent peril of their lives. The messenger, after 
delivering the letter, was returning quietly from the house, ' lippening 
for nae harm or pursuit,' when he was seized by a number of armed 
servants of Gight, and dragged before the laird, who would have 
shot him but for the interposition of ' some one, who put aside the 
weapon. He then harlit him within his hall, took the copy of the 
said letters, whilk he supposed to have been the principal letters, 
and cast them in a dish of broe [broth], and forcit the officer to sup 
and swallow them,' holding a dagger at his breast all the time. 
Afterwards the laird, being informed that the principal letters were 
yet extant, ' came to the officer in a new rage and fury, rave [tore] 
the principal letters out of his sleeve, rave them in pieces, and cast 
them on the fire.' For this scandalous outrage the Laird of Gight 
was put to the horn. A much more serious crime was committed 
by the laird in 16 15. His brother, Adam Gordon, was killed in a 
single combat by Francis Hay, cousin-german to the Earl of Errol. 
Gordon, resolved to revenge this deed, seized Hay, without any 
warrant, and brought him to Aberdeen, where, at an irregular, and, 
indeed, illegal trial, presided over by the sheriff-substitute, who was 
also a Gordon, he was condemned to death. Next morning he was 
led out to a solitary place, and there butchered by the Gordons. No 
punishment seems to have been inflicted on the perpetrators of this 
bloody deed, which caused a fierce quarrel between the Earl of 
Errol, the chief of the Hays, and the Marquis of Huntly. 

It is instructive to learn that the men who were guiltv of these 
shocking crimes all the while firmly adhered to the religion of their 
fathers. In 1661, George Gordon, the young Laird of Gight, who 
had hitherto evaded all the demands of the Church Courts that he 
should abandon his Popish errors, was threatened with immediate 
excommunication, unless he should without further delay subscribe 
the Covenant. He pleaded sickness, and inability to leave the 
country ; offered to confine himself within a mile of his own house, 
' and receipt nane wha is excommunicat (my bedfellow excepted) ; or 
he would go into confinement anywhere else, and confer with Protest- 
ant clergymen as soon as his sickness would permit.' He says in 

368 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

conclusion, ' If it shall please his Majesty, and your wisdoms of the 
Kirk of Scotland sae to take my blude for my profession, whilk is 
Roman Catholic, I will maist willingly offer it; and gif sae be, God 
grant me constancy to abide the same.' Gordon's offer, however, 
was not deemed satisfactory, and he was informed by the Presbytery 
of Aberdeen that unless he should within eight days give sufficient 
surety for either subscribing, or leaving the kingdom, he would be 
excommunicated.* The laird would have been entitled to great 
sympathy under this odious persecution, if his religious principles 
had kept him from robbery and murder. In 1641 the Laird of Gight 
retaliated upon his tormentors. He and the Lairds of Newton and 
Ardlogie, with a party of forty horse and musketeers, ' made a raid 
upon the town of Banff, and plundered it of buff coats, pikes, swords, 
carbines, pistols, yea, and money also,' and compelled the bailies to 
subscribe a renunciation of the Covenant. 

Towards the close of last century the family ended in an heiress, 
Catherine Gordon, who seems to have inherited the fierce and unruly 
passions of her family. She married, in 1785, Captain John Byron, 
a worthless and dissolute spendthrift, by whom she became the 
mother of the famous poet, Lord Byron. As she espoused Captain 
Byron without any ' settlement,' her estate was seized by his 
creditors, and sold to Lord Aberdeen for ^18,500, while she and her 
son were left in penury. 

The castle of Gight is now a complete ruin, with the exception of 
two modern rooms, which are preserved for the accommodation of 
parties visiting the glen. There is a prophecy regarding it and the 
family, as usual ascribed to Thomas the Rhymer, which says — 

' When the heron leaves the tree, 
The Laird o' Gight shall landless be.' 

It is said that when the Honourable John Byron married the 
heiress of Gight, the denizens of a heronry which, for ages, had fixed 
their airy abode among the branches of a magnificent tree in 
the immediate vicinity of the house, at once left their ancient 
habitation, and migrated in a troop to Kelly, where it is certain a 
family of herons is now domiciled. ' The riggs soon followed ' is a 
familiar saying, which aptly enough fills up the tradition, for the 
estate of Gight is now in the hands of the Earls of Aberdeen. 

* Selections from the Ecclesiastical Records of Aberdeen, xxxvii., xc. 

The Gordons of Earlston, Gight, etc. 369 

Another prophecy is even more remarkable, since its complete 
verification has been accomplished within a very recent period : — 

'At Gight three men by sudden death shall dee, 
And after that the land shall lie in lea.' 

'In 1 79 1 Lord Haddo met a violent death on the Green of Gight 
by the fall of his horse ; some years after this a servant on the estate 
met a similar death on the Mains, or home farm. But two deaths 
were not sufficient to verify the seer's words. A few years ago the 
house, preparatory to the farm being turned into lea, was being 
pulled down, when one of the men employed in the work casually 
remarked on the failure of the Rhymer's prediction. But, as if to 
vindicate the veracity of the prophet's words, in less than an hour 
tl.e speaker himself supplied the fated number, lying crushed to 
death beneath the crumbling ruins of a fallen wall ! We need 
scarcely add that the local fame of the Rhymer is now more than ever 
in the ascendant.' 

Pratt adds : ' We cannot take leave of the grey romantic towers 
of Gight in language more appropriate than that of the noble bard 
whose maternal ancestors occupied them for nearly four hundred 
years : — 

' And there they stand, as stands a lofty mind — 
Worn, but unstooping to the baser crowd, 
All tenantless, save to the crannying wind, 
Or holding dark communion with the cloud, 
Banners on high, and battles passed below; 
And they who fought are in a bloody shroud, 
And those who waved are shredless dust ere now, 
And the bleak battlements shall bear no future blow.'* 

* Pratt's Buchan. Twelve Sketches of Scenery and Antiquities, etc., by William 
Feiguson of Kinmundy, pp. 51-2. 

VOL. II. h B 


HE Hays are amongst the oldest and most illustrious of the 
historic families of Scotland, but their real origin has been 
obscured by a fabulous traditionary story which would still 
appear to be held for gospel truth in the northern district 
of Aberdeenshire, as various allusions were made to it on the banners 
and triumphal arches displayed when the eldest son of the present 
Earl came of age, as well as in the speeches delivered on that occa- 
sion. It is said that in the reign of Kenneth III., the Danes invaded 
Scotland, and encountered a Scottish army commanded by their 
king at Luncarty, near Perth. The battle was long and fiercely 
contested, but at length the two wings of the Scottish forces were 
compelled to give way. As they were flying from the field, pursued 
by the victorious Danes, a husbandman named Hay, who happened, 
along with his two sons, to be at work in a neighbouring field, armed 
only with the yokes of their ploughs, stationed themselves in a narrow 
pass through which the fugitives were hurrying, compelled them to 
halt in their flight, restored the battle, and gained a complete 
victory. ' Sone after,' says Hector Boece, ' ane counsal was sat at 
Scone in the quhilk Hay and his sons were maid nobil and doted 
for their singular virtew provin in this field, with sundray lands to 
sustane thair estait. It is said that he askit fra the King certane 
lands Hand betwixt Tay and Arole, and gat als mekil thairof, as ane 
falcon flew of ane man's hand or scho lichtit. The falcon flew to ane 
tower, four miles fra Dunde, called Rosse, and lichtit on ane stane 
quhilk is yet callit the Falcon Stane, and sa he gat all the lands be- 
twixt Tay and Arole, six milis of lenth and four of breid, quhilk 
lands are yet inhabit by his posteritie.' In proof of the truth of this 
story an appeal is made to the arms of the Hays — three escutcheons 
supported by two peasants, each carrying an ox-yoke on his shoulder, 

The Hays of Errol. 3 7 1 

with a falcon for the crest. In all probability, however, this story, 
which is entirely fabulous, was invented to explain the arms, for 
armorial bearings were unknown at the date of the battle of Lun- 

A very ingenious attempt has been made by Mr. Hay Allan, 
a gentleman who claims affinity with the Hays, to vindicate the truth 
of the story told by Boece, on the alleged authority of a manuscript 
history of the family, which, however, does not appear to have been 
seen by anyone but himself. 

* Mac Garadh,' he says, ' is the ancient name of the Hays. It is 
of genuine Gaelic origin, and was given first to the family in allusion 
to the celebrated action by which he [the peasant] raised himself 
from obscurity. It is very expressive of the circumstances. Its 
literal signification is a dike, or barrier, and was given to the ances- 
tor of the Hays for his conduct at the battle of Luncarty, where he 
stood between the flying Scots and the victorious Danes, like a 
wall or barrier of defence. . . . Surnames did not come into use in 
England before the time of the Conqueror, and their introduction 
into Scotland was at a date a little subsequent. The name of 
Garadh was given to the ancestors of the Hays about one hundred 
and fifty-six years before, and had not, therefore, been subsequently 
retained by his descendants as an individual designation, but was only 
used generally as the name of the whole race, as Clann na Garadh, 
and particularly as the patronymic of the chief, who was designated 
Mac Mhic Garadh Mor, and Sgithan Deang, the son of the son of 
Garadh of the red shields. 

* At the time, therefore, of the adoption of surnames, the appella- 
tion of Garadh had grown into antiquity, and there were also other 
reasons which still more forcibly actuated its neglect. In the reign 
of Mac Beath there were two brothers of the direct descendants of 
Garadh, and during the troubles of that tyrant's usurpation the 
younger, " being right bauld and stalwart of heart," went into Nor- 
mandy, where he married the daughter and heiress of one of the 
barons of the dukedom. 

'Surnames had by this time become partially in use on the 
Continent, and on his domiciliation in Normandy the descendant of 
Garadh was desirous of adopting a name which should conform to 
the language and usage of the country, and at the same time perpet- 
uate the memory of his origin. For this purpose he assumed the 
name of De la Have, which is a sufficiently literal translation of 

372 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

Garadh, the first signifying a hedge or fence, the latter a dike or 

' In the reign of Malcolm Bean Mor, the son of the first De la 
Haye was one of the warriors who accompanied William of Normandy 
into England. Some time after the Conquest he made a journey 
into Scotland, to visit his uncle, the chief of the Clan na Garadh, 
then grown to a very advanced age and without children. During 
his visit the old chief died, and there being no other heir, De la Haye 
was declared his successor. From this time he abandoned the service 
of William, residing wholly in Scotland. The name became heredi- 
tary to the descendants of Garadh, and the old appellation dropped 
into oblivion.' 

Mr. Hay Allan has also given a war-song of the family, which he 
says he copied from an old leaf that he found pasted into that history. 
Some stanzas, he asserts, are very ancient, and others, he admits, are 
quite modern. He has heard scraps of it sung by old people in 
Perthshire. And he states that the old war-cry of the Hays was, 
* Halen Mac Garadh.' 

The song begins in the following manner : — 

' Mac Garadh ! Mac Garadh ! red race of the Tay, 
Ho ! gather, ho ! gather like hawks to the prey ; 
Mac Garadh, Mac Garadh, Mac Garadh, come fast, 
The flame 's on the beacon, the horn 's on the blast ; 
The standard of Errol unfolds its white breast, 
And the falcon of Loncartie stirs in her nest : 
Come away — come away — come to the tryste — 
Come in, Mac Garadh, from east and from west.' 

Then follows the picture of the charge : — 

' Mac Garadh is coming ! like stream from the hill, 
Mac Garadh is coming, lance, claymore, and bill; 

Like thunder's wild rattle 

Is mingled the battle 
With cry of the falling and shout of the charge : 

The lances are flashing, 

The claymores are clashing, 
And ringing the arrows on buckler and targe.' * 

All this is, no doubt, very interesting, but until this MS. history 
of the Hays is produced, and the circumstances in which it was 
found are made known, the alleged Celtic origin of the family must 
be regarded as a romance, and we must continue to believe that the 
Hays are in reality a branch of the Norman family of de Haya. 
* See Bridal of Coalchuirn, by James Hay Allan, Esq. 

The Hays of Errol. 373 

They derive their designation from an estate in Normandy, and their 
armorial bearings are the same as those borne by families of the 
name in Italy, France, and England. A Sieur de la Haya ac- 
companied William the Conqueror to England in 1066. A William 
de la Haya, who married a daughter of Ranulph de Soulis, Lord of 
Liddesdale, was principal butler to Malcolm IV., about the middle 
of the twelfth century, and to his brother, William the Lion, who 
bestowed on him the lands of Errol. Sir Gilbert de la Haya 
and his brother Hugh, descendants in the fifth generation from this 
royal butler, were amongst the first of the Scottish barons to repair 
to the standard of Robert Bruce, and were present at his coronation. 
Hugh was taken prisoner at the battle of Tippermuir, but Gilbert 
made his escape, with Bruce and a small body of his followers, into 
the wilds of Athole, and shared in all his subsequent perils and pri- 
vations. Hugh must in some way have regained his liberty, for he 
fought, along with his brother, at Bannockburn. Sir Gilbert was 
created, by King Robert Bruce, High Constable of Scotland — 
an office which was made hereditary in his family, and received from 
his grateful sovereign a grant of the lands of Slains, in Aberdeen- 
shire, which is still the seat of his descendants. 

About the middle of the fourteenth century, William de la Haya, 
the representative of the house, a zealous supporter of James II. 
in his struggle with the Douglases, as a reward for his services 
was raised to the peerage by the title of the Earl of Errol, and 
received various grants of land in 1446 and 1450. During the 
rebellion of that powerful house, which placed the throne of James II. 
in imminent peril, the Earl of Errol, in order to conciliate the 
people, and to induce them to rally round their sovereign, resigned 
his constable fees, which were levied on everything brought to 
market while the Estates were sitting, and were the source of large 
emoluments to the High Constable. An indemnification was 
promised him for this great sacrifice, but was never given. 

The successors of Earl William continued for two centuries to 
take a prominent part in the wars, and treaties, and other public 
affairs connected with the history of the country. William Hay, 
fourth Earl, fell at Flodden, fighting by the side of his sovereign. 
His son, William, the fifth Earl, was, according to Calderwood, a 
man ' well learned, both in humanitie and divinitie, and speciallie 
weill versed in the New Testament. He would rehearse word by 
Word the choicest sentences, speciallie such as served to establish 

374 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

solid comfort in the soule by faith in Christ. Much he suffered for 
the cause of Christ.' On his death, about 1535, without male issue, 
his title, office, and estates devolved upon George Hay, son of the 
Hon. Thomas Hay, of Logie Almond, who married Margaret Logie, 
heiress of that property. His eldest son, Andrew Hay, who 
became seventh Earl, married Lady Jane, only daughter and heiress 
of the fifth Earl, and thus united the collateral heir male and the heir 
female of line of this ancient family. Like his father, Earl Andrew 
was a steady supporter of Queen Mary. His son, Francis, eighth 
Earl, was one of the leaders of the Popish faction during the early 
years of James VI. , and along with the Earls of Huntly, Crawford, 
Angus, and Bothwell, took up arms against his sovereign for the 
purpose of promoting the interests of the Romish party in Scotland. 
[See Douglases, and Campbells of Argyll.] Errol and his fellow- 
conspirators repeatedly entered into a treasonable correspondence 
with Philip of Spain and the Duke of Parma, with a view to the in- 
vasion of the country, and they even levied a powerful force, with 
which they defeated, at Glenlivet, 15th October, 1594, the royal 
army, commanded by the Earl of Argyll. Errol fled to the Con- 
tinent, and was forfeited by the Parliament and excommunicated 
by the Church. He was ultimately allowed to return home, was 
relieved from his civil and political disabilities, reconciled to the 
Court, and received into favour by James VI. He seems to have 
been always liked by the King, and he was one of the commissioners 
nominated by the Parliament, in 1604, to treat of a union between 
Scotland and England. ' He was,' says Sir Robert Douglas, ' a truly 
noble man, of a great and courageous spirit, who had great troubles 
in his time, which he stoutly and honourably carried ; and now in 
favour, died in peace with God and man, and a loyal subject to the 
King, to the great grief of his friends.' The Earl died at his ances- 
tral castle of Slains, 1 6th July, 1631, and on his deathbed gave direc- 
tions that, instead of the costly funeral usual at that day in the case 
of great nobles, he should be buried privately in the church of that 
place, and that the calculated expense of a showy ' earthing up ' 
be distributed among the poor on his estate, which was accordingly 
done. The Earl was three times married, but left issue only by his 
third wife, a daughter of the Earl of Morton, who bore to him three 
sons and eight daughters. 

His eldest son, William, the ninth Earl, was brought up at Court, 

The Hays of Errol. 375 

and was educated in the Protestant religion. He was held in special 
favour by Charles I., and officiated as Lord High Constable at the 
coronation of that sovereign in the abbey of Holyrood in 1633. He 
unfortunately lived in such a splendid and extravagant style that he 
was obliged to sell his paternal estate of Errol, one of the largest 
and finest in the kingdom, which had been in the possession of the 
family for four centuries and a half. It is painful to notice the deca- 
dence of a family so renowned in the history of our country, brought 
about by the spendthrift habits of one of its members. But as Sir 
Walter Scott remarked when looking at a farm on the Errol estate, 
at one time rented at ^500 a year, but which had been completely 
covered and ruined by a thick coating of sand blown upon it in a 
storm, ' Misfortune and imprudence more fatal than the sands of 
Belhelvie,' have swallowed up the greater part of the once-magni- 
ficent estates of the Errol family, of which the poet has said — 

'A thousand years have seen it there.' 

Gilbert, the tenth Earl, was a staunch Royalist during the 
troublous times of the Great Civil War, and raised a regiment at his 
own expense for the service of Charles II. ' We do promise,' wrote 
that monarch, ' that as soon as it shall please Almighty God to put 
an end to the present troubles, the claims of our said cousin, the said 
Earl of Errol, shall be favourably considered and justice done, so 
that he may see how highly we esteem that ancient family, and the 
value we set upon his present services.' But, as usual, the promise 
was not kept by ' the laughter-loving king, whose word no man 
relied on.' On the death of Earl Gilbert without issue, his titles and 
estates devolved upon Sir John Hay of Killour, grandson of Sir 
George Hay, the younger son of the seventh Earl. His son 
Charles, the twelfth Earl, died unmarried in 1 7 1 7 , and the title, with 
its privileges, and honours, and the remnant of the once-extensive 
possessions of the family, passed to his elder sister, Lady Mary, 
the wife of Alexander Falconer, son of Sir David Falconer, Lord 
President of the Court of Session. At the death of the Countess 
without issue it was inherited by Lord Boyd, the grandson of his 
sister, who married James, fifth Earl of Linlithgow and fourth Earl 
of Callandar, to whom she bore an only child, Lady Anne Living- 
ston, the wife of the Earl of Kilmarnock. Lord Boyd would have 
united in his own person the earldoms of Errol, Kilmarnock, Lin- 
lithgow, and Callandar had the three last not been attainted at the 

376 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

close of the Jacobite rebellion of 1745. His father, the amiable but 
unfortunate Earl of Kilmarnock, when in his twelfth year, had fought 
for the Hanoverian dynasty in 17 15, but changed sides and joined the 
banner of Prince Charles Stewart in 1745. He had been soured by 
the illtreatment he had received from the Government in withhold- 
ing his pension, and was so miserably poor that he was frequently 
obliged to depend upon the hospitality of his friends for a dinner. 
His wife, the Countess of Linlithgow and Callandar in her own right, 
was a lady of great spirit and wit, and she contributed not a little to 
the success of the Highland army at the battle of Falkirk, by detain- 
ing General Hawley at Callandar House until the insurgents had 
taken up a commanding position on the moor, which enabled them to 
engage the royal troops at a great advantage. 

The Earl of Kilmarnock was taken prisoner at the battle of Cul- 
loden. His second son, the Hon. Charles Boyd, also espoused the 
Jacobite cause, but his eldest son fought on the Hanoverian side,* 
and the third son was an officer in the Royal Navy. The Earl was 
brought to trial, along with the Earl of Cromartie and Lord Bal- 
merino, before the House of Lords in Westminster Hall, on the 
28th of July, 1746. He pleaded guilty, and when brought before 
the court, on the 30th, to receive sentence of death, he urged, as 
reasons why clemency should be shown to him, that his family had 
constantly supported the Revolution of 1688, and the interests of the 
House of Hanover; that his father had shown great zeal and activity 
in the cause of the reigning family during the rebellion of 17 15; 
and that he himself, though very young, had at that time appeared 
in arms on the same side; and that his eldest son, whom he had 
trained in loyal principles, had fought at Culloden in behalf of King 
George. No regard, however, was paid to these pleas by the 
sovereign or his advisers, and Lord Kilmarnock was beheaded on 
Tower Hill, on the 18th of August, 1746. His behaviour on the 
scaffold was dignified, firm, and composed. He acknowledged the 
justice of his sentence, prayed for the reigning King and his family ; 
and when the Deputy-Lieutenant of the Tower, according to an 
ancient custom, said, ' God save King George ! ' the Earl answered, 
' Amen ! ' knelt calmly on the block, and submitted to the fatal blow. 
1 His whole behaviour,' says the Rev. Mr. Forster, who attended the 

* As the Earl was led along before the royal troops bareheaded, his hat having 
fallen off and not been replaced by the soldiers to whom he had surrendered, Lord 
Boyd, his son, started from the ranks and placed his own hat on his father's head. 
This act of filial affection and reverence produced a deep impression even on the 
soldiers who witnessed it, though certainly 'not given to the melting mood.' 

The Hays of Errol. 377 

Earl on the scaffold, ' was so humble and resigned, that not only his 
friends, but every spectator, was deeply moved ; and even the execu- 
tioner was deeply moved.' 

Lord Kilmarnock was tall and graceful in person, and was pos- 
sessed of fine accomplishments ; but in his early days he was careless 
and extravagant in his expenditure, 'by which,' as he confessed to 
Mr. Forster, ' he had reduced himself to great and perplexing diffi- 
culties. He was tempted to join the rebellion in the hope that, by 
its success, he might retrieve his embarrassed circumstances.' 

Lord Kilmarnock's own titles, and the patrimonial estates and titles 
of his Countess, were forfeited ; but the remnant of the Errol property, 
with the dignities and high privileges of the Hays, descended to 
James Hay, the son of this ill-fated pair, who became thirteenth 
Earl of Errol. He officiated as High Constable of Scotland at the 
coronation of George III. in 1761. Sir Walter Scott represents 
' Redgauntlet ' as exclaiming in a burst of indignation at the spec- 
tacle, ' Shame of shames ! Yonder the gigantic form of Errol bows 
his head before the grandson of his father's murderer.' It is said 
that Lord Errol, having accidentally omitted to pull off his cap when 
the King entered, made a respectful apology for the omission, but 
his Majesty entreated him to be covered, for he looked upon his 
presence at the ceremony as a very particular honour. Dr. Samuel 
Johnson, on his tour to the Hebrides, visited this nobleman at Slains 
Castle, in Aberdeenshire, and Boswell has given a very graphic and 
interesting description of the personal appearance, and captivating 
manners of the Earl. ' His dignified person and agreeable counte- 
nance, with the most unaffected affability,' he says, ' gave me high 
satisfaction.' Dr. Beattie, in a letter to Mr. Montagu, says of Lord 
Errol, ' His stature was six feet four inches, and his countenance and 
deportment exhibited such a mixture of the sublime and the peaceful 
as I have never seen united in any other man. He often put me in 
mind of an ancient hero, and I remember Dr. Johnson was positive 
that he resembled Homer's character of Sarpedon.' Sir William 
Forbes adds his testimony to the same effect: 'Were I desired,' he 
says, ' to specify the man of the most graceful form, the most elegant, 
polished, and popular manners which I have ever known in my long 
intercourse with society, I should not hesitate to name James, Earl of 
Errol. . . . He was a most affectionate and attentive parent, hus- 
band, and brother, elegant in his economy, somewhat expensive, 
yet exact and methodical. He exerted his influence, as a man of 
rank, and a magistrate, in doing good to all in his neighbourhood. 

378 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

In a word, he was adored by his servants, a blessing to his tenants, 
and the darling- of the whole country.' His death, which took place 
in 1778, in the fifty-third year of his age, is spoken of as 'a great loss 
to his country, and a matter of unspeakable regret to his friends.' 

When Dr. Johnson and Boswell visited Slains Castle, in 1773, 
they found living there the Hon. Charles Boyd, the Earl's brother. 
After the ruin of the Jacobite cause at Culloden he fled to the island 
of Arran, the ancient possession of the Boyds, where he lay concealed 
for a vear among its glens and hills. During his residence in Arran 
he fortunately found a chest of medical books, left by a surgeon 
there, and he occupied himself in his solitude so diligently in study- 
ing them as to acquire considerable knowledge of medicine. He 
escaped to France, and practised there as a physician for twenty 
years. He then returned to Scotland, and lived for some time in 
Slains Castle, where he was often consulted by the poor in the 
neighbourhood. He died at Edinburgh in 1785. 

There is nothing deserving of special notice in the character or 
conduct of his successors, two of whom, the fourteenth and fifteenth 
earls, were sons of Earl James. They have all been highly respect- 
able men, and have discharged in a creditable manner the duties 
connected with their position in society. The fourteenth Earl was 
an officer in the army. His brother William, the fifteenth Earl, 
who assumed the additional surname and arms of Carr, from his 
maternal grandfather, Sir William Carr of Etal, Northumberland, 
was for several years Lord High Commissioner to the Church of 
Scotland. His eldest son, James, Lord Hay, was killed at Waterloo. 
William George, sixteenth Earl, married Elizabeth Fitzclarence, 
the third of the natural daughters of King William IV., and, probably 
in consequence of that connection, was appointed Lord Steward ot 
the Household, and afterwards Master of the Buckhounds, under the 
Whig Ministry of 1830. He was created, in 1831, a Peer of the 
United Kingdom by the title of Baron Kilmarnock, and in the 
following year he was constituted Knight- Marischal of Scotland, and 
was appointed Lord-Lieutenant of Aberdeenshire. His son Wil- 
liam Henry, present Earl, is the seventeenth who has borne the title, 
and the twenty-second Lord High Constable of Scotland. He was 
formerly an officer in the army, and was wounded at the battle of the 
Alma. In virtue of his office as Lord High Constable, the Earl of 
Errol is the first subject in Scotland after the blood royal, and takes 
precedence of every other peer. 

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HE Hays of Tweeddale have attained higher rank and have 
figured more conspicuously in the history of Scotland 
than any other branch of this ancient family. They are 
descended from Robert, second son of William de Haya, 
who held the office of royal butler to Malcolm IV. and William the 
Lion. Sir John de Haya, the grandson of Robert, acquired the 
lands of Locherworth (now Borthwick) in Midlothian by marriage 
with the heiress of that estate. His son, Sir William de Haya, in 
the contest for the Scottish Crown in 1292, was one of the nominees 
of Robert Bruce. But like the other Scottish magnates of English 
descent, he swore fealty to Edward I. in July of that year, and gave 
in his submission to him in 1297, as his son, Sir Gilbert Hay, had 
done in the previous year. Sir Gilbert made one of those fortu- 
nate marriages for which the Hays were so noted. His wife was 
one of the daughters and co-heiresses of Sir Simon Fraser, the 
gallant patriot, and the friend and companion of Wallace, who was 
executed at London by Edward I., with circumstances of shocking 
barbarity. By this marriage the Hays obtained the valuable barony 
of Neidpath, and other lands on Tweedside, which remained in their 
possession until the year 1686. Sir William de Haya, Sir Gilbert's 
grandson, fought under the banner of David II. at the battle of 
Durham (17th September, 1346), where he was taken prisoner along 
with that monarch. Sir Thomas, his son, was one of the hostages 
for King David's liberation, 3rd October, 1357, and seems to have 
been detained a good many years in England. In 1385 he received 
four hundred of the forty thousand francs which were sent by the 
French king with Juhn de Vienne, to be distributed among the most 
influential Scottish barons. 

380 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

Sir William Hay, son of Sir Thomas, was Sheriff of Peebles- 
shire. He married Jean or Joanna, eldest daughter of Sir Hugh 
Gifford of Yester, the head of an old family which settled in Scotland 
in the reign of David I., and obtained from that monarch lands in 
East Lothian. William the Lion conferred upon him the barony of 
Yester. In the course of time the parish which bore that name came 
to be popularly called Gifford. His grandson, Hugh Gifford, was one 
of the guardians of Alexander III. and his queen. He was regarded 
as a skilful magician, and several anecdotes are told of his magical 
art, and his control over demons and the powers of nature. 
Fordun mentions that in Gifford' s castle there was a capacious 
cavern, said to have been formed by magical art, and called in the 
country, ' Bo-Hall,' that is, Hobgoblin Hall. Sir David Dalrymple, 
in his ' Annals,' says, ' A stair of twenty-four steps led down to this 
apartment, which is a large and spacious hall, with an arched roof; 
and though it has stood for so many centuries, and been exposed to 
the external air for a period of fifty or sixty years, it is still as firm 
and entire as if it had only stood a few years. From the floor of 
this hall another stair of thirty-six steps leads down to a pit, which 
hath a communication with Hope's Water.' This ancient and strong 
castle, which stands on an elevated peninsula, near the junction 
of two streams, has long been in ruins, though the Goblin Hall was 
tenanted by the Marquis of Tweeddale's falconer so late as 1737. 
Sir Hugh's appearance and dress are vividly described by Sir 
Walter Scott in the third canto of ' Marmion ; ' and of the hall he 

says — 

1 Of lofty roof and ample size, 
Beneath the castle deep it lies ; 
To hew the living rock profound, 
The floor to pave, the arch to round, 
There never toiled a mortai arm : 
It all was wrought by word and charm.' 

Sir Hugh Gifford's heiress brought the barony of Yester into the 
Tweeddale family, and they quartered the arms of Gi fiord with their 

The church of Yester, of which Sir William obtained the patronage 
along with the estate, was originally called St. Bathan'b. It was 
converted by him into a collegiate establishment for a provost, six 
prebendaries, and two choristers ; and in this state it continued 
until the Reformation. 

Though the Hays were henceforth designated as of Yester, they 

The Hays of Tweedda/e. 381 

still continued to reside at Neidpath Castle, on the banks of the 
Tweed, near Peebles. In all probability the newer part of that castle 
was built by Sir William in the early part of the fifteenth century. 
For the sake of security the walls of the new structure were made 
enormously thick and strong ; but a serious mistake was committed 
in a military point of view, in allowing the old castle to remain, 
for its walls were gieatly inferior in strength and thickness to 
those of the new part of the fortress, and the old part consequently 
formed its vulnerable part as soon as artillery came into use.* 

Sir William took for his second wife, Alice, daughter of Sir 
Thomas Hay, of Errol, and had issue by both wives. The first 
bore to him three sons and three daughters, the second a son and a 
daughter. The eldest son, William, predeceased him ; the second 
son, Thomas, was one of the hostages for James I. in 1423, when 
his income was estimated at six hundred marks yearly. He sur- 
vived his father only four years, and died unmarried in 1432. He 
was succeeded by his brother, David, who married the sister of the 
first Earl of Angus, and relict of the first Lord Forbes. He obtained 
with her the lands of Gliswell and Torbirus. 

Father Hay states that there was a double marriage, on the 
authority of a document at Hermiston, dated 4th December, 1409, and 
of a bond, dated 12th December, 1410, given by the Countess of 
Mar for one hundred pounds Scots to Sir William Hay of Loch- 
arward, ' because William, Earle of Angus, her sone, married 
Margaret Hay, his daughter.' It thus appears that the sister of the 
first Earl of Angus married Sir William Hay's son, and the daughter 
of Sir William married the Earl of Angus. t 

Sir David Hav had by his wife two sons and a daughter. John, 
the eldest son, was created a peer by solemn investiture in Parlia- 
ment, bv the title of Lord Hay of Yester, 29th January, 14S7-8. 
He married, first, a daughter of Lord Lindsay of the Byres, by 
whom he had an only son, John, his successor. He took for his 
second wife the daughter and heiress of Sir William Cunningham 
of Belton, who bore him two sons and two daughters. 

Johx, second Lord Yester, fell at Flodden in 15 13. His eldest 
son, the third Lord, who also was named Johx, was twice married. 

* History of Peeblesshire, by William Chambers, pp. 163. 319. 

t This document, in which the first Karl of Angus is acknowledged by the Countess 
of Mar as her son, sets at rest the long-disputed question respecting the origin of the 
Angus family. — See The Angus Douglases, i. 71. 

382 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

His first wife was Elizabeth Douglas, daughter of the Master of 
Angus, and sister of Archibald, sixth Earl of Angus. He took for 
his second wife the daughter of John Dickson of Smithfield, with 
whom he received that estate. It was inherited by William Hay, the 
elder of the two sons whom this lady bore to Lord Yester. He was 
the ancestor of the present family of Smithfield and Haistoune, who 
were advanced to the dignity of Baronets of Nova Scotia by 
James VI., in 1624. 

Jean Hay, the daughter of Lord Yester by the heiress of Smith- 
field, married George Broun of Coalstoun, and received as her 
dowry the famous enchanted pear, which is still preserved in the 
family. {See The Ramsays, i. 314.) 

John, fourth Lord Yester, was taken prisoner at the battle of 
Pinkie, 10th September, 1547, was carried to the Tower of London, 
and was not restored to liberty until peace was concluded in the 
year 1550. He died in 1557. 

John, fifth Lord Yester, was deprived by James V. of his sheriff- 
ship in consequence of his brother, Hay of Smithfield, having allowed 
a Border freebooter to escape out of prison ; but he appealed to the 
Council against this arbitrary act of the King, and was restored in 
his office. Though Lord Yester had supported the Reformation, 
and was one of the nobles who subscribed the ' Book of Discipline,' 
27th January, 1561, he espoused the cause of Queen Mary, was 
present with her forces at Carberry Hill in 1567, and fought on her 
side at the battle of Langside in 1568. He was one of the noble- 
men who, in 1570, signed a letter to the English queen, Elizabeth, 
in behalf of Queen Mary, whom Elizabeth had held for three years 
in captivity. He died in 1576, leaving two sons and four daughters 
by his wife, a daughter of Sir John Kerr of Ferniehirst. The Kers 
of Ferniehirst were noted even among the Border clans for their 
fierce and sanguinary spirit. Sir John was ' art and part ' in the 
murder of Sir Walter Scott of Buccleuch, in the High Street of 
Edinburgh. The account which De Beaugue gives in his ' Memoirs ' 
of the cruel treatment of the English garrison, when Sir John, with 
the assistance of the French troops under D'Esse, retook his castle 
of Ferniehirst in 1549, is shocking in the extreme. Lord Yester's 
eldest son and successor — 

William, sixth Lord Yester, seems to have inherited the fierce and 

The Hays of Tweeddalc. 383 

turbulent spirit of his maternal ancestors, for he was noted even in 
those troublous times for his turbulence and violence. On the 30th 
of April, 1585, a complaint was made against him, before the Privy 
Council, by John Livingstone of Belstane, in the parish of Carluke, 
on the ground of a violent attack made upon him by Lord Yester, 
which put him in peril of his life. One morning, he alleges, he left 
his home before sunrise, meaning no harm to anyone, and expecting 
none to himself. He was walking out, ' under God's peace and the 
King's,' when suddenly he was beset by about forty people, who 
had him at feud, 'all bodin in feir of weir; ' namely, armed with 
jacks, steel bonnets, spears, lances, staffs, bows, hagbuts, pistolets, 
and other invasive weapons forbidden by the laws. At the head of 
them was William, Master of Yester (a denounced rebel on account 
of his slaughter of the Laird of Yesterhall's servant), Alexander 
Jardine, younger, of Applegarth, and a number of other individuals, 
all mentioned by name, all of them persons of good position and 
influence. Having come for the purpose of attacking Livingstone, 
they no sooner saw him than they set upon him with discharge of 
their firearms, to deprive him of his life. He narrowly escaped, and 
lan back to his house, which they immediately environed in the most 
furious manner, firing in at the windows, and through every 
aperture, for a space of three hours. A ' bullon ' pierced his hat. 
As they departed they met his wife and daughter, whom they 
abused shamefully. The perpetrators of these barbarities and violent 
deeds were all denounced as rebels by the Privy Council, a sentence 
which they seem to have regarded very lightly. 

In the following year (October 8th) the Master of Yester is once 
more brought before the Council, on a complaint made by Sir John 
Stewart of Traquair, and his brother, James Stewart of Shillinglaw, 
lieutenant of his Majesty's guard. They set forth, in the first place, 
how it is well known of Sir John Stewart that, ' having his dwelling- 
place on the south side of Tweed, in a room [place] subject to the 
invasions of the thieves and broken men of the Borders, and lying 
betwixt them and sundry his Majesty's true liges, whom commonly 
they harry and oppress, have at all times himself, his brother, his 
friends and neighbours assisting him, dwelling betwixt the burgh of 
Peebles and Gaithopeburn, resistit the stouthreif and oppressions of 
the said thieves and broken men, to the comfort and relief of manv 
true men, in whilk course they intend, God willing, to continue to 
their lives' end.' Of late, however, they declare « they have been and 

384 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

is gretumly hindered therein, by reason that William, Master of 
Yester, by the causing, direction, at least owersight and tolerance, 
of William Lord Hay of Yester, his father, sheriff of Peebles and 
provost of the burgh of Peebles (wha by the laws of this realme 
aucht to mak his said son answerable,' but had ' placit him in the 
principal house and strength of Neidpath,' though he had been 
denounced rebel for nearly the space of a year ' for his inobedience 
to underlie the laws ' till within the last few days that he obtained 
relaxation) . . . had in the meantime ' not only usurpit, and taken on 
him the charge of the sheriffship of Peebles, and provostry of the 
burgh thereof, but ane absolute command to proclaim and hold 
wappinshawings* at times na wise appointit by his hieness' direction, 
to banish and give up kindness to all persons, in burgh or land, where 
he pleases, to tak up men's gear under pretence of unlaws fra wap- 
pinshawings or other unnecessar causings, never being lawfully 
callit nor convenit ; . . . and forder it is well knawn to sundry of 
the lords of Secret Council that the said Master sought the life of 
the said James Stewart, and daily shores and boasts [threatens and 
vaunts] to slay him and all others of his kin, friends, allies, 
assisters, and partakers.' On the petition of the complainers, the 
Council heard parties, the peccant Master appearing for himself 
and in excuse for his father, who was sick and unable to travel. The 
case was remitted to the judgment of the Court of Session, to be 
decided by them as they might think proper. Meanwhile the Master 
was enjoined to desist from molesting the Stewarts and their friends 
and dependents between this and the 8th of January next. 

On the 20th April, 1587, it is stated that the King had dealt with 
these hostile parties, and had arranged letters of affirmance between 
them, in order to secure peace for the future; but the Master of 
Yester had refused to subscribe. For his refractory behaviour he 
was threatened with being denounced a rebel. On the 12th of May 
the King ordered him to enter in ward north of the Tay, and there 
remain till liberated ; and a few weeks later, on this order not being 
complied with, the Master was denounced rebel, and all persons were 
forbidden to assist or receive him. 

It was shortly after this fruitless effort to heal the feud between 
the Hays and Stewarts that King James made his memorable attempt 
to induce the whole nobility, convened for the purpose at Edinburgh, 

* Meetings of the male inhabitants for the exhibition of their weapons, which they 
were required by statute to provide. 

The Hays of Tweeddale. 385 

to bury in oblivion their mutual animosities, and to promise that 
they would henceforth live together in amity. After a banquet at 
Holyrood, they were made to march in procession hand-in-hand to 
the Cross of Edinburgh, and there, in the presence of the King and 
a great concourse of the citizens, to drink to each other, and to 
pledge their faith that they would be friends. The Master of Yester 
alone declined to comply with the King's earnest request, and refused 
to be reconciled to Stewart of Traquair. He was committed to the 
castle for his contumacy, and after a few months' imprisonment he 
at last yielded. The whole circumstances connected with this affair 
throw great light both on the character of the Scottish nobility of 
that day, and on the lawless state of the country, when the son of a 
peer of the realm, and the sheriff of the county, robbed the people of 
their goods under the pretext that they had refused to attend meet- 
ings illegally convened by his own authority. 

It is a curious and instructive fact that Father Hay, in his ' Gene- 
alogie of the Hays of Tweeddale,' written a century later, precisely 
reverses the character and objects of this quarrel. The Master of 
Yester, whose nickname it seems was Wood-sword, is described by 
him as a vigorous supporter of the laws, and a scourge of the thieves 
and broken men who infested the Borders ; while the Stewarts of 
Traquair were their friends and protectors. The Master, he affirms, 
captured and hanged a great number of them, and in pursuing them 
received a wound in the face. Father Hay admits that the Master 
was at feud with the house of Traquair, but asserts that it was because 
they 'seconded' the moss-troopers. 'King James VI.,' he con- 
tinues, ' being desirous to have this feud taken away, as all others of 
the country, and he refusing was committed to the castle of Edin- 
burgh, out of which he made his escape, and immediately made some 
new inroad against the thieves, of whom he killed a great many, in 
a place called from thence the Bloody Haiigh, near Riskinhope, in 
Rodonna; whereupon King James was pleased to make a hunting 
journey, and came to the house of Neidpath, whither the King called 
Traquair, with his two sons, who made to Lord Yester acknowledg- 
ment for the wrong they had done him, and thus peace was made by 
the King. This was witnessed by one William Geddes, who was 
my lord's butler, and lived till the year 1632.'* 

This account of the cause of the feud between these two powerful 
Border families is no doubt in accordance with the version of it which 

* Genealogie of the Hays of Tweeddale, p. 25. 


386 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

was traditionary among the Hays, but it is unfortunately at variance 
with the judicial records of the country. It is not improbable, how- 
ever, that the reconciliation, which was undoubtedly effected by the 
King, took place at Neidpath. 

Lord Yester was one of the nobles engaged in the Raid of Ruthven 
in 1582, and was in consequence obliged to take refuge in the Low 
Countries. He returned in 1585, and died in 1591, leaving six 
daughters, but no son, by his wife, a daughter of Lord Hemes. He 
was succeeded by his brother — 

James, seventh Lord Yester, who obtained from James VI. a char- 
ter to him and to his heirs male of the lordship and barony of Yester, 
containing a new creation. The charter is dated 1591, but it had 
not passed the seals when his brother died, and Father Hay asserts 
the Chancellor Maitland extorted from Lord Yester the superiority 
of Lethington, and the lands of Haystoun, near Haddington, before 
he would pass it.* Lord Yester resided at Neidpath Castle like his 
predecessors. At this time his wife — Lady Margaret Kerr, a 
daughter of the Earl of Lothian — had brought him no family, and 
his presumptive heir was his second cousin, Hay of Smithfield. In 
connection with this state of matters, a singular incident occurred — 
a public judicial combat on Edston-haugh, on the north bank of the 
Tweed, near Neidpath — the last of the kind in Scotland. 

Lord Yester had for his page one George Hepburn, brother of 
the parson of Oldhamstocks, in East Lothian. His master of the 
horse was John Brown of Hartree. One day Brown, in conversation 
with Hepburn, remarked, ' Your father had good knowledge of 
physic ; I think you should have some also.' ' What mean ye by 
that ? ' said Hepburn. ' You might have great advantage of some- 
thing,' answered Brown. On being further questioned, the latter 
stated that, seeing Lord Yester had no children, and Hay of Smith- 
field came next in the entail, it was only necessary to give the 
former a suitable dose to make the latter Lord Yester. ' If you,' 
continued Brown, ' could give him some poison, you should be 
nobly rewarded, you and yours.' ' Methinks that were no good 
physic,' quoth Hepburn, drily, and soon after revealed the pro- 
ject to his lord. Brown, on being taxed with it, stood stoutly on 
his denial. Hepburn strongly insisted that the proposal had been 
made to him. In these circumstances it was resolved that a pas- 

* G oncologic of the Hays of Tweeddate, p. 26. 

The Hays of Tweeddale. 387 

sage of arms should be held between the two, in order to determine 
the dispute. 

' The two combatants were to fight in their doublets, mounted, 
with spears and swords. Some of the greatest men in the country 
took part in the affair, and honoured it with their presence. The 
Laird of Buccleuch appeared as judge for Brown ; Hepburn had on 
his part the Laird of Cessford. The Lords Yester and Newbottle 
were amongst those officiating. When all was ready, the two com- 
batants rode full tilt against each other with their spears, when Brown 
missed Hepburn, and was thrown from his horse, with his adversary's 
weapon through his body. Having grazed his thigh in the charge, 
Hepburn did not immediately follow up his advantage, but suffered 
Brown to lie unharmed on the ground. ' Fy ! ' cried one of the 
judges ; ' alight, and take amends of thy enemy ! ' He then 
advanced on foot, with his sword in his hand, to Brown, and com- 
manded him to confess the truth. ' Stay,' cried Brown, ' till I draw 
the broken spear out of my body.' This being done, Brown 
suddenly drew his sword and struck at Hepburn, who for some time 
was content to ward off his blows, but at last dealt him a backward 
wipe across the face, when the wretched man, blinded with blood, 
fell to the ground. The judges then interposed to prevent him being 
further punished by Hepburn, but he resolutely refused to make 
any confession.* 

Lord Yester, after this incident, had by Lady Margaret, ' who was 
ane active woman, and did mutch for the standing of the familie,' 
three sons and a daughter — John, his successor ; William., who was 
the ancestor of the Hays of Linplum ; and Robert, who died young. 
It was this Lady Yester who in her widowhood erected the church in 
Edinburgh which bears and perpetuates her name. 

John, eighth Lord Yester, and first Earl of Tweeddale, was noted for 
his sagacity and active business habits. He took a prominent part 
in resisting the attempts of James VI. and Charles I. to alter and 
injure the constitution of the Presbyterian Church. He opposed the 
Five Articles of Perth, which were most obnoxious to the people of 
Scotland, and voted against them in the Parliament of 152 1. He 
was equally hostile to the Act passed in 1633, for regulating the 
apparel of ecclesiastics, which he saw was intended to prepare the way 
for further and more offensive innovations — a step which made the 
* Domestic Annals of Scotland, i. 264-5. Genealogie of the Hays of Tweeddale, p. 26. 

388 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

King withhold from him at that time the dignity of an earl. He took 
part, also, in the resistance which was made in 1637 to the introduc- 
tion of the new liturgy framed by Charles. When the Covenanters 
took up arms in 1639, in defence of their rights and liberties, Lord 
Yester was appointed to the command of one of the regiments in the 
Scottish army. On the breaking out of the second war, Lord Yester 
accompanied the forces under General Leslie in their march into 
England, and was present at the siege of Newcastle, but refused to 
accept of any command. Lord Yester was raised to the rank of Earl 
of Tweeddale by King Charles when he sought refuge in the Scottish 
camp in 1646. The pecuniary embarrassments which proved so 
troublesome to his son and successor, and so injurious to the familv 
estates, were caused by the improvidence of this Earl, and the obliga- 
tions which he undertook for his nephew, the Earl of Dunfermline, 
' a young man,' says Father Hay, ' much inclined to all sorts of gaming, 
and careless of his business.' Lord Yester's mother had contracted a 
second marriage with the Master of Jedburgh, ' with whom her sone 
was necessitated to enter into a treatie and composition for payment 
of fortie thousand merks in money, and ane annuity of eight 
thousand merks by year, which, with the burthens of the family, 
which were not small, and debts contracted by himself in his travels 
abroad, and courtship at home, he was necessitat to sell the barony 
of Swed in the sheriffdome of Dumfreese, which came in by the 
Cunninghams ; with Beltoun, and the barony of Arthearmoor, 
reserving only the superiority.' He purchased the barony of 
Drumelzier, an ancient possession of the Tweedies, on which he 
had heavy mortgages, and assigned it to his second son, Lord 
William Hay. From him it passed by inheritance to the Hays of 
Dunse Castle, with whom it remained till disposed of in 1831. 

In the latter years of Lord Tweeddale, when enfeebled by illness, 
the honour of the family was sustained by his eldest son, Lord 
Yester, who fortified his castle of Neidpath against the forces of the 
Commonwealth, when Cromwell invaded Scotland. A detachment 
of troops, probably commanded by Major-General Lambert, 
besieged Neidpath, and by battering down the old peel, which was 
attached to the fortress, and was its weakest part, compelled the 
garrison to surrender. 

The Earl was twice married, first to Lady Jane Seton, daughter 
of the first Earl of Dunfermline, his brother-in-law, by whom he 
had one son, John ; and secondly, to Lady Margaret Montgomery, 

The Hays of Tweeddale. 389 

eldest daughter of the sixth Earl of Eglintoun, who bore to him four 
sons and three daughters, but they all died in childhood, except 
one son, William. The Earl was present at the coronation of 
Charles II. in 1650, and survived till 1654. 

John, second Earl of Tweeddale, was born in 1626. He spent 
his early years in London, with his relatives, the Earls of Rothes 
and Dunfermline, and when only sixteen years of age he repaired 
to the standard of Charles I., raised at Nottingham, at the com- 
mencement of the Great Civil War. His father, however, at this 
juncture carried him to Scotland, and in the following year he 
was appointed to the command of a regiment in the army levied 
by the Covenanters for the assistance of the Parliament in the 
contest with the King. He took part in the battle of Marston 
Moor, which was so fatal to the royal cause. But after the designs 
of the Republicans became apparent, Lord Tweeddale withdrew 
from their party, and waited on the King when he took refuge 
in the Scottish camp at Newcastle. He joined the army of the 
* Engagement' raised for his rescue, and fought at Preston in 1648 
at the head of the East Lothian Regiment, twelve hundred strong. 
More fortunate than most of the other leaders in that ill-devised and 
badly managed enterprise, he made his escape when the troops in 
the town were compelled to surrender, and returned in safety to 
Scotland. He attended Charles II. when he came from the Conti- 
nent for the purpose of vindicating his claim to the throne of his 
ancestors, and was present at his coronation in 1657. The Earl does 
not appear, however, to have been appointed to any command in the 
forces under General Leslie, and did not accompany them in their 
march into England, which terminated so disastrously at Worcester. 
When all opposition to the sway of Cromwell had ceased, ' the 
usurpers,' as Father Hay says, * being absolut masters of the 
countrey, he was necessitat to live under their protection, having a 
numerous family of childring, as all others at that time did who were 
not prisoners.' His lordship, however, yielded something more than 
mere passive obedience to the Commonwealth, for he consented, 
in 1655, to represent the county of East Lothian in Cromwell's 

The relations in which Lord Tweeddale stood to the Protector are 
made apparent by the following letter which appeared in No. 2 of 
the Public Intelligencer, a newspaper published at the time in London. 

390 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

It was, according 10 the heading, written ' by the Lord Tweeddale, 
a Scottish Lord, to his Highness, upon occasion of a pamphlet that 
was published a while since, wherein the said Tweeddale' s name was 
mentioned, which pamphlet was entituled, " A Short Discovery of his 
Highness the Lord Protector's intentions touching the Anabaptists 
in the Army," upon which there are thirty-five queries propounded 
for his Highness to answer : ' — 

' May it please your Highness, 
* Amongst the bad accidents of my life (as who will excuse him- 
self) I count it not a small one, that my name is used to a Forgery, 
wherein many bitter expressions is cast upon your Highness, and 
the present Government ; and though God has raised your thoughts 
above the consideratione of such, that possibly it neither has nor 
should come to your knowledge, bot for my boldness in the way I 
take to vindicate myself, and bear testimony against such an untruth 
as is contained in a printed paper relating to a discourse of your 
Highness to me, the falsehood of the thing being sufficiently known 
to your Highness. All I say for myself is, that if I had been a 
persone to whom your Highness had communicat any purpose of 
importance in reference to the Government, I wold not have been so 
unworthy of your favour as to have divulged it without your High- 
ness' order of licens, much less to the prejudice of the peace and 
quiet of the people, or fomenting the jealousies of any. I beseech 
your Highness to give this charity to my discretione; a good con- 
sciens I desire to keep towards all men, and likewise excuse the 
presumption of 

' Your Highness' most dutiful and humble servant, 

' Tweeddale.* 

Lord Tweeddale had succeeded his father in the previous year. 
He had been reduced to great straits in consequence of his having 
become security for the debts of his uncle, the Earl of Dunfermline. 
' He was forced sometimes to flee his house, and for the most part 
necessitat to stay att Edinburgh to keep his credit, most of the 
estate being wadsett [mortgaged] and comprisd ; and he, haveing 
only his relief out of Dunfermlyn's, was forced to have led compris- 
ings, and used all other diligence against it, which occasioned the 
Earle of Kalendar to enter into a treatie with him for dividing the 
debt, and the relief, which continued till 1654, that his father died.'* 
* Gencalogie of the Hays of Tweeddale, pp. 30-1. 

The Hays of Tweeddale. 391 

At a later period these responsibilities brought upon the Earl no 
little trouble and pecuniary loss. 

At the Restoration, Lord Tweeddale, who was at that time in 
London, waited upon Charles II. as soon as he arrived in England, 
and was cordially received by him. The King ' was pleased,' says 
Father Hay, ' as a mark of his favour to change the holding of the 
greatest part of his estate from ward to blench, and to name him one 
of his Privy Council.' 

But Lord Tweeddale' s loyalty was entirely free from that mingled 
fawning upon the King and violence against the Covenanters, which 
was exhibited by the courtiers of that day ; and in the Parliament of 
1 66 1 he stood alone in opposing the passing the sentence of death 
upon the Rev. James Guthrie of Stirling, for having declined the 
authority of the King in ecclesiastical affairs. It is alleged that some 
remarks which he made were misrepresented to the King by Middle- 
ton, and he was in consequence (September 14th) committed a 
prisoner, by royal warrant, to the castle of Edinburgh. He was 
liberated, however, on the 4th of October, on giving security to the 
amount of ^10,000 Scots that he would appear when called upon ; 
but was required to confine himself for six months to his own house. 
In some unknown way, probably through his insinuating address, 
when the Earl repaired to Court, he was again received into royal 
favour, and in 1666 was appointed one of the Extraordinary Lords of 
Session. In the following year he was nominated one of the 
Commissioners of the Treasury, and in 1668 became a member of 
the English Privy Council. He was a strenuous advocate of milder 
measures with the Covenanters, and employed his influence with the 
King in favour of the Indulgence which was issued in 1669, granting 
permission, under certain conditions, to the ejected Presbyterian 
ministers to exercise the functions of their office. He held interviews 
with some of these ministers, in order to ascertain whether some 
terms of accommodation could not be framed which they could 
accept. With the assistance of Sir Robert Murray, the Earl suc- 
ceeded in putting the public finances on a satisfactory footing, and 
in paying off the old debts which the King had contracted in Scot- 
land. It was through Tweeddale's influence also that, after the sup- 
pression of the Pentland rising, the standing army was reduced to a 
small reserve force, greatly to the dissatisfaction of the prelates, as 
well as of the military officers. 

The success of these measures and the popularity which they gained 

3Q2 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

for the Earl roused the jealousy of Lauderdale, who was President 
of the Council and First Commissioner of the Treasury, and his alien- 
ation was manifested by his underhand efforts to defeat the project 
which Tweeddalehad formed to bring about a union of the two king- 
doms. He also changed the destination of his estates, which had 
been settled upon his only child, who had married the Earl of 
Tweeddale's son, and were to descend to the second son of that 
marriage. At this time Lauderdale's wife died, and six weeks after 
her death he married the notorious Countess of Dysart, who, to 
serve her own purposes, induced him to quarrel with his best friends. 
Among others, Lord Tweeddale was dismissed from all his offices, 
and was even deprived of his seat in the Privy Council. Lauder- 
dale's enmity induced him to stir up the Duke and Duchess of Buc- 
cleuch and Monmouth to commence a suit for a reduction of the 
settlement made with them by the Earl, with consent of their curators, 
and ratified by a decreet of the Lords, in connection with the Buc- 
cleuch estates, which were entailed upon Lady Tweeddale, a sister 
of Earl Francis, failing heirs of the Earl's own body. The King had 
bound himself as administrator for his son, the Duke of Monmouth, 
for the fulfilment of this contract. Notwithstanding, Lauderdale in- 
duced the Court to set aside this deed, and thus deprived his former 
friend of ^4,000 sterling. 

This injustice, Father Hay says, with the expense of three or four 
journeys to Court, and of two lawsuits, inflicted great loss on the 
Earl, ' so that the Duke of Lauderdale may be justly said to have 
robbed the family of any benefit it had by his daughter's tocher.' 
He contrived also to deprive Tweeddale of the teinds of Pinkie, and 
to compel the Earl to repay him ,£1,000 sterling for the sums 
which he had received from them. 

On the downfall of Lauderdale, in 1680, the Earl was restored to 
his office of Commissioner of the Treasury, and was readmitted a 
member of the Privy Council. He was continued in these offices by 
James VII., though he was well known to be averse to all measures 
of persecution. He was still harassed by the debts which he had 
incurred on account of his cautionary obligations for the Earl of 
Dunfermline, who seems to have been completely bankrupt. There 
is a curious printed document in the possession of the Marquis of 
Tweeddale, giving a full account of ' the particular debts wherein 
the deceased Earl of Tweeddale was engaged for Charles Earl of 
Dunfermline, and which John, now Earl of Tweeddale, present Lord 

The Hays of Tiveeddale. 393 

Chancellor, was obliged and necessitat to pay for preventing the 
ruine of his own family and fortune : With a distinct account what 
whereof was payed by intermission with the rents of Dunfermline's 
estate, or by the sale of lands or other wayes ; and how much bal- 
lance is yet resting to the Earl of Tweeddale of these debts.' It 
appears from this detailed and minute account that the original 
amount due by the Earl of Dunfermline in 1650, for which the Earl 
of Tweeddale was responsible, was ^"76,808 3s. gd. Scots, to which 
had to be added ^10,865 5 s - %d. for interest and sheriffs' fees. The 
sale of lands belonging to Lord Dunfermline, and the purchase from 
him of the estate of Pinkie, at one time considerably reduced the 
amount of the debt, but it mounted up again until, at Whitsunday, 
1 69 1, there was due of principal and interest the sum of about 
^24,220 sterling, exclusive of the sheriffs' fees, which amounted to 
^"122 55. sterling. It was further alleged that ' albeit the Earl of 
Tweeddale paid to the Earl of Dunfermline a very great and exor- 
bitant price for the lands of Pinkie and the teinds thereof,' the Duke 
of Lauderdale succeeded in obtaining a decreet of eviction of these 
teinds before the Court of Session, and repayment of the sums which 
Lord Tweeddale had received from them, and that amount, together 
with the rent of the teinds for four years, during which they were 
possessed by Lauderdale, making in all upwards of ^1,513 lost to 
Tweeddale, besides the loss entailed upon him by the failure of 
tenants and ' the bad payment of teinds and feu duties,' estimated at 
^"166. It was stated in conclusion that ' the yearly rent of the estate 
which belonged to Dunfermline, and is now possessed by the Earl of 
Tweeddale, does not come near the interest of the ballance which is 
due. . . . And upon the whole matter it is clearly evident how 
great a loser the Earl of Tweeddale hath been, and is like still to be, 
of these debts which he is necessitat to pay for the Earl of Dunferm- 
line, and whereof he can expect no adequate relief.' 

Reference is made in this document to the sale of the Earl of 
Tweeddale's 'whole interest in the shire of Tweeddale,' for the 
purpose of paying the Earl of Dunfermline's debts. It is mentioned 
that the Tweeddale estate at that time yielded upwards of ^1,300 
sterling of yearly rent, and that it was sold at twenty years' purchase. 
It appears, however, that the obligations under which the Earl had 
come for his kinsman were not the only cause of his embarrassments, 
for we learn on the same authority that he had an unfortunate taste 
for buying land beyond his means of payment. ' The Earle of Tweed- 

394 The Great Historic Families of Scotland. 

dale, haveing purchased the baronies of Linton and Newland, and 
contracting considerable debts for them, neare ^10,000 sterling, 
which, with the old debts of the familie, and cautionrie for the Earle 
of Dunfermlyne, brought his debts to so immense a soume as att 
Whitsundey, 1686, he was necessitat to sell his whole estate and 
interest in Tweeddale to the Duke of Queensberry for about £2 80,000 
pounds' [Scots], a sum equal to ,£23,333 6s. Scl. sterling. The sale 
of this fine estate, which is now worth ^14,3 15 a year, brought to a 
close the connection of the Tweeddale family with Peeblesshire, which 
had lasted for nearly four hundred years. 

The Earl of Tweeddale cordially concurred in the resolution adopted 
by the Convocation at the Revolution of 1688, that King James had 
forfeited the Crown, and that it ought to be offered to William and 
Mary. He was sworn a Privy Councillor 1 8th May, 1 689. On the 
7th of December following he was nominated one of the Lords of 
the Treasury, and on 5th January, 1692, he was appointed High 
Chancellor of Scotland. On 17th December, 1694, he was created 
Marquis of Tweeddale, Earl of Gifford, Viscount Walden, and Lord 
Hay of Yester. In a very critical state of public affairs, when 
inquiry had to be made into the massacre of Glencoe, the Marquis 
of Tweeddale was selected for the office of Lord High Commissioner 
to the Parliament which met at Edinburgh in 1695. ^ n connection 
with that appointment of the Chancellor ' to sit on the throne and 
hold the sceptre,' Lord Macaulay says 'he was a man grown old in 
business, well informed, prudent, humane, blameless in private life, 
and on the whole as respectable as any Scottish lord who had been 
long and deeply concerned in the politics of those troubled times.' * 
He discharged the delicate and difficult duties of his office with 
great prudence and impartiality. He was a member of the Com- 
mission appointed by King William to exam