THE GORDONS OF HUNTLY.
IlliGordons of Handy are now represented by the Duke of ichmond and Lennox and the Marquis of Hardly. The male line of Gordon (of this family) terminated in an heiress, who by marriage carded the estates into a branch of the SETONS, the new line adopting the name of Gordon. They acquired the Marquisate of Huntly and subsequently the Dukedom of Gordon, but the latter title has become extinct, most of the estates passing to the Duke of Richmond and Lennox, nephew of the last Duke, while the title of Huntly devolved on a collateral of the Gordon- Seton line. e.
The name "Gordon" is evidently derived from the territory of Gronnorr, in Berwickshire, which was anciently of great extent. In Normandy there is a manor called Gordon, belonging to a family of that name, but whether there is any connection between them and the Gordons of Scotland we have no evidence whatever to determine. If the latter prefer a Norman to a Celtic or Saxon origin, they are perfectly at liberty (so far as the absence of negative evidence is concerned) to adopt that hypothesis, but (at the risk of offending family self-esteem*) we are again compelled to limit our pedigree to ascertained facts.
RICHARD DE GORDON, the first of the line who appears in the national records, between the years 1150 and 1160 granted to the monks of Kelso some land at Gordon, now the cemetery, a right of pasturage, an acre of ground at Todlaw, and an acre of meadow in Huermv-Strother. His son, Thomas de Gordon, confirmed all his father's donations to the monks, as did his son, Sir Thomas de Gordon. The last named, by three other charters, granted, with con- sent of Marjory, his wife, to the same monks, some lands, with part of his peatary, called Brunmosa, the liberty of taking timber from his woods and of pulling heath anywhere within his estates. The monks in return gave him the right of burial in the cemetery of the abbey of Kelso. He was alive on the 28th of August, 1258, but died soon afterwards, leaving an only daughter, Alicia de Gordon, who married her cousin, Adam de Gordon, said to be descended from a brother of Richard, the first of the line on record. This Adam granted a peatary in his estate of Fawnys, adjacent to Gordon, to the monks of Dryburgh. He went with the Earls of Atholl and Carrick to Palestine, under the banners of Louis IX. of France, in 1268, and died in that expedition (ac- cording to Holinshed, however, it was a William de Gordon who went on this crusade), Alicia his wife surviving him. Adam de Gordon (the second son of Adam and Alicia de Gordon) inherited the estates, and died in the year 1296, on the 3rd of September, in which year his widow, Marjory, obtained restitution of his lands, on swearing fealty to Edward L This implies that Adam, her husband, had been engaged on the national side. The career of his son, Sir Adam de Gordon, was of a very ambiguous character. He first joined Sir William Wallace in 1297, was one of the Wardens of the Marches in 1300, and one of the ten Commissioners elected at the general Council of the Scottish nation in 1305, with full parliamen- tary powers, for the settlement of Scotland under Edward I. The same year he was fined in three years' rent of his estates for his former opposition to that King. From this time he seems to have become a confirmed English partizan. In January, 1312, he was sent by Edward II., with the Earl of Atholl and others, to attempt making a trace with the Scots. In November, 1313, he and the Earl of March were deputed by such of the Scots as remained faithful to England to lay their miserable state before Edward, who highly praised their constancy. But Sir Adam Gordon, see- ing that Bruce's power was hopelessly in the ascendant, at last abandoned his English connection, and joined the Scottish King. As a reward he obtained from Randolph, Earl of Moray, a grant of the barony of Stitchell in Roxburghshire, contained to him and his son William by Robert L, June 28, 1315. He had also a
• From communications we receive from time to time as our series proceeds, it would seem that we are supposed to be actuated by a malicious desire to lower the an- tiquity of the noble families of Scotland. We entirely disslaim any such motive. Our simple wish is to state the ascertained facts; nor have we hesitated to give its legitimate weight to plausible tradition. But we cannot create facts, even where a Hamilton or a Campbell is concerned, and we must be allowed the privilege of esti- mating, according to the best of otr critical ability, the value In each particular case of family traditions and mere hypotheses. grant from the same King of the forfeited estates of David de Strathbogie, Earl of Atholl, but no possession followed, the Earl having returned to his allegiance. The Gordons, however, thence- forth kept their eye on the Strathbogie estate. Sir Adam seems to have been highly esteemed by Robert Bruce, for in 1320 he was one of the two ambassadors sent by that King to Rome, to solicit the Pope to recall the bull of excommunication against Bruce and Scotland. The Pope evaded the request by pleading that the instructions of the ambassadors were not ample enough, the famous letter of the Barons of Scotland, asserting the independence of that kingdom, which Gordon and his companion carried with them, not being apparently looked upon by His Holiness as a sufficient recom- mendation. Sir Adam fell at the battle of Halidon Hill, July 19, 1333. His second son, William, was the ancestor of the Viscounts of Kennure, the sixth of whom was executed on Tower Hill in 1716, for holding a principal command in the rebellion of '15. The title then was forfeited, but was subsequently restored, and became extinct in 1847. Sir Alexander de Gordon, eldest son of Sir Adam. Gordon, was with his father at the battle of Handel' Hill, and according to one account fell at the battle of Neville's Cross), October 17, 1346. But this is doubtful. His son, Sir John de Gordon, was taken prisoner at that battle, and not released till 357r when the Earl of Douglas became one of his sureties. On the 20th of March, 1358, he obtained from King David Bruce a charter of the lands of Strathbogie. His son, also Sir John de Gordon, is- called by Robert H. "our beloved kinsman," but what the rela- tionship was does not appear. In 1377 Sir John was one of the assistants of the Earl of March in the treacherous slaughter of the Eitglish during truce time in the town of Roxburgh. The Eng- lish borderers retaliating upon Sir John's lands, he "collected his. vassals, invaded England, and carried away a large booty in cattle' and prisoners, but before he could cross the border was attacked in a mountain pass (at Carham) by Sir John Lilburn, at the head of a body of knights and men-at-arms, double the number of the' Scots. The skirmish was one of great obstinacy, but though' grievously wounded Gordon made good his retreat, took Lilburn prisoner, and secured his plunder." Sir John de Gordon also took a leading part in the defeat and capture of Sir Thomas de Musgrave, Governor of Berwick, in 1378. He fell at the battle of Otterbourne, August 19, 1388. His son, Adam Gordon, of Huntly, had a. charter from King Robert Ill, of the lands of Gordon and Fogo, in Berwickshire, the superiority having passed to the King in consequence of the forfeiture of the Earl of March. He fell at the fatal battle of Homilden, September 14, 1402, in a very chivalrous manner. In the midst of the confusion into which the Scots had fallen from the showers of English arrows, Sir John Swintork exhorted them not to stand there to be slain like deer, but to. charge down the hill, and sell their lives as dearly as they could_ He was about to lead this desperate charge, when Adam Gordenr with whom he had long been at deadly feud, "threw himself frome his horse, and kneeling at his feet, begged his forgiveness, and the honour of being knighted by so brave a leader. Swinton instantly consented, and after giving him the accolade tenderly embraced' him. The two then remounted, and at the head of their followers,- forming a body of a hundred horse, made a desperate attack on' the English," which, however, being unsupported, only ended in the deaths of Swinton and Gordon and the fall or rout of their fol- lowers. Sir John de Gordon left only a daughter, Elizabeth de Gor- don,;whobecame the heiress of his estates, and married Sir Alexander Seton, son of Sir William Seton of Seton. Here, then, the lands. pass a second time through an heiress, and this time into another family. On the 20th of July, 1408, Sir Alexander and his wife obtained from Robert, Duke of Albany, a charter, to them in life- rent, remainder to the heirs of their bodies, which failing, to the heirs whatsoever of Elizabeth Gordon, of the lands of the baronies of Gordon and Huntly, Fogo, Fawnys, and Melowrstanes, hs Berwickshire, Strathbogie, and Beldygordon, in Aberdeenshire, and all other lands belonging to the late Sir Adam Gordon ; and henceforth Sir Alexander de Seton was styled Lord of Gordon. He was at the " sair fight of Harlaw " in 1411, and in 1421 was- one of the Scotch contingent sent to France to assist the Dauphin against Henry V., but on the request of the latter prince, James, the captive King of Scotland, recalled them from the French ser- vice, and Sir Alexander obtained letters of safe-conduct to come into England. He had been one of the principal agents of the captive King in preparing the way for his return to Scotland by- undermining the authority of Duke Murdoch of Albany in that country, and was one of the Commissioners to treat for the King's ransom, and one of the hostages on its being effected in 1421. On this occasion his annual revenue is estimated at 400 marks. His eldest son, Sir Alexander Seton, Lord of Gordon, accompanied the Princess Margaret to France in 1436, on her marriage to the Dauphin, and after the murder of James L in 1437 he was one of those sent to England to treat for the peace concluded in 1439. He was created Earl of Huntly, January 29, 1450, by a charter to him and the heirs of the bodies of himself and his wife, Elizabeth, which failing, to his own right heirs of the earldom of Huntly, the lordship of Strathbogie, the lands of Cluny, Tulch, Obyn, Glentanyr, and Glenmuck, in Aberdeenshire ; the lordship of Gordon, in Roxburghshire, and the barony of Panbride, in Forfarshire. Huntly was engaged during much of his life in hostilities with the Lindsays of Crauford, the origin of their feud in the year 1445 being thus narrated by Mr. Tytler :—" The religious house of Arbroath had appointed Alexander Lindsay, eldest son of the Earl of Cranford., their chief justiciar, a man of ferocious habits and of great ambition, who from the length and bushiness of his beard was afterwards commonly known by the appellation of 'The Tiger, or Earl Beardy.' The prudent monks, however, soon discovered that the Tiger was too ex- pensive a protector, and having deposed him from his office, they conferred it upon Ogilvy of Innerquharity, an unpardonable offence in the eyes of the Master of Crauford, who instantly collected an army of his vassals, for the double purpose of in- flicting vengeance on the intruder and repossessing himself of the dignity from which he had been ejected. There can be little doubt that the Ogilvies must have sunk under this threatened attack, but accident gave them a powerful ally in Sir Alexander Seton of Gordon, afterwards Earl of Huntly, who, as he re- turned from Court, happened to lodge for the night at the castle of Ogilvy, at the moment when this baron was mastering his forces against the meditated assault of Crauford. Seton, although in no way personally interested in the quarrel, found himself, it is said, compelled to assist the Ogilvies by a rude but ancient custom, which bound the guest to take common part with his host in all dangers which might occur so long as the food eaten under his roof remained in his stomach. With the small train of attendants and friends who accompanied him he joined the forces of Innecrquharity, and proceeding to the town of Arbroath, found the opposite party drawn up in great strength on the outside of the gates. As the combatants, however, ap- proached each other, the Earl of Crauford, who had received information of the intended combat, being anxious to avert it, suddenly appeared on the field, and galloping up between the two lines was mortally wounded by a soldier, who was enraged at his interference and ignorant of his rank. This event mate- rially increased the bitterness of hostility, and the Lindsays, who were assisted by a large party of the vassals of Douglas, infuriated at the loss of their chief, attacked the Ogilvies with a desperation which soon broke their ranks and reduced them to irreclaimable disorder. Such, however, was the gallantry of their resistance, that they were almost entirely cut to pieces, and five hundred men, including many noble barons of Forfar and Angus were left upon the field. Seton himself had nearly paid with his life the penalty of his adherence to the rude usage of the times, and John Forbes of Pitsligo, one of his followers, was slain." The day of retribution, however, came. Crauford became deeply involved in the designs of the Douglases, and on the murder of the Earl of Douglas at Stirling he combined in open rebellion against James II. That King therefore promoted to the office of Lieutenant-General of the Kingdom the Earl of Huntly, committing to his assured loyalty and experience in war the task of putting down the rebel- lion of Crauford and Ross. IIuntly in the execution of his new office instantly raised a large force in the northern counties, and having displayed the Royal banner, encountered the 'Eger on a level moor beside the town of Brechin (May 18, 1452), and gave him a total defeat, Cranford being deserted on the field by the commander of his left wing. So desperate, however, was the com- bat, that more than sixty lords and gentlemen of Crauford's party, including his brother John Lindsay, lay dead on the field, and five barons on Huntly's side, and two of his brothers, Sir William and Sir Henry Seton, shared the same fate. A yeoman of the victorious army, carried away in the rout with the beaten enemy, was witness to the Tiger's rags at his defeat, and reported that Crauford declared he would willingly take seven years' roasting in hell to have the honour of such a victory as had that day fallen to Handy. While, however, the latter was thus engaged against Crauford, the Earl of Moray, brother of the late Earl of Douglas, invaded and wasted the estates of Strath- bogie. Handy then fell with vengeancs upon the fertile county of Moray, and completely razed to the ground that half of the town of Elgin which belonged to his enemy. Huntly fulfilled his office with such energy that he completely reduced the northern counties to submission and quiet, and when James IL made a Royal progress through , Scotland in 1453, in passing through Angus a singular scene took place. The Tiger suddenly presented himself before the Royal procession, clothed in beggarly apparel, his feet and head bare, and followed by a few miserable-looking ser- vants in the sameraggedattire. He threw himself on his knees before the King, and with many tears implored his forgiveness for his repeated treasons. Huntly, with whom he had already made his peace, now interceded in his behalf, and the King extended his hand to Crauford, who was restored to his honours and estates, but was carried off by a fever only six months afterwards. In the Douglas rebellion of 1454 Handy was not at first so successful. He attacked the Earls of Moray and Ormond, but was defeated at Dunkintry. However, he raised fresh forces, and compelled them to leave the north of Scotland, and take shelter in the Wes- tern Isles. He was employed in negotiations with England in 1458, and altogether his great services to the Crown so recom- mended him to the Royal favour that he was thought worthy of a Royal match. The Princess Annabelle, sister of the King, had been betrothed to Louis, second son of the Duke of Savoy, but at the request of the King of France, and on payment of the sum of twenty-five thousand crowns, James consented to a dissolution of the intended marriage, and on her return to Scotland she became (March 1, 1459) the wife of George, Lord Gordon, Huntly's eldest son. On the 1st of September, 1464, the Earl had a charter erecting the town of Kingusy, in the lordship of Badenoch, in Inverness-shire, into a free burgh or barony, and another, Sep- tember 5, 1467, of the lands of Torroquhestle, Udynovile, and Ruynenore, in the county of Elgin. He died in 1470, and was buried at Elgin, where a monument was erected to his memory. He first married Jean. daughter and heiress of Robert de Keith, with whom he had a great estate. He had no children by her. His second wife was Egidia, daughter and heiress of Sir John Hay of Tallibody, in Clackmannanshire, by whom he had a son, Alexander, who succeeded to his mother's estate, and his ancestor of the Setons of Touch. The Earl's third wife, to whose children the family honours and the earldom were limited by the charter of 1450, was Elizabeth, daughter William, Lord Crichton, Chancellor of Scot- land, and it is to the influence of this father-in-law that much of Huntly's favour with the King is to be attributed. George, eldest son by his last marriage, succeeded as second Earl of Huntly. On June 18 1467, he had charters of the lands of Scheves in Aberdeenshire and Naterclale in Banffshire; on the 7th of February, 1470, of the lands of Remylton, Fawside, Hekkispeth, Mellostanes, and half of Fogo, in the lordship of Gordon in Ber- wickshire, forfeited by Robert, Lord Boyd ; and on the 21st of May in the same year of the lands of Culsawarty and forests of Boyne and Aynze [Enzie]. On the 30th of March, 1473, he had a charter to him and his second wife, Elizabeth, daughter of the first Earl of Erroll, of the King's lands of Halzards in Banffshire ; on the 1st of March, 1486, a charter to the same of the lands of Ar- dargarty, and on the 15th of October, 1490, of the forest of Enzie, with the castle. In the year 1473 the whole of the northern counties were thrown into disorder, in consequence of a feud between Huntly and the Earl of Ross, whose dominions and vas- salry together embraced almost the whole of the Highlands ; but in 1475, when Ross was in arms against the Crown, he obtained his pardon through the mediation of Huntly, who thus followed the glorious and wise policy of his father towards Crauford. He was one of the Conservators of the peace with England in 1484. In 1487, when symptoms of approaching rebellion on the part of the barons against James III. became evident, the King appointed Handy and Cranford to be justices of the north half of Scotland beyond the Forth. When the rebellion actually broke out, with Prince James at its head, Huntly joined the King's standard; and accompanied him in his march to Blackness. Here, by the advice of Bluntly and other barons, negotiations were entered into with the opposing army, and an agreement received the Royal signature but it being violated by the influence, it is said, of Atholl, Huntly, Errol, and others in disgust deserted the King and withdrew to their own houses. When, however, James hastily re-assembled such of his forces as he could on the renewal of the rebellion, Huntly rejoined the Royal standard, and at the fatal battle of Sanchieburn he was one of the commanders of the first division of the King's army. At first successful in his onslaught, Huntly was then overpowered and beaten by the borderers, and driven back in confusion on the main body. When the day was irre- trievably lost, and rumours of the King's death spread everywhere, Huntly retired with the remains of the Royal army in tolerable order, and the new Sovereign, not indisposed towards those who had upheld the Royal authority, now received him into favour. tie was made a Privy Councillor, in the same year appointed, along with Erroll and the Laird of Inverugy, to the government of the extensive district reaching from the hilly range called the Mounth northward to Inverness. On the 13th of May, 1491, he was constituted King's Lieutenant northward of the water of Esk, till the Sovereign, who was then in his twentieth year, had reached the age of twenty-five. In 1498, Iluntly was appointed High Chancellor of Scotland, and resigned this office in 1502. He died soon afterwards, the exact date being unknown, but certainly before the 26th of January, 1503. Alan, his second son (by his Royal marriage), Lord of Aboyne, marrying Elizabeth, Countess of Sutherland, became Earl of Sutherland in her right. Sir William, the third son, was killed at Flodden. The fourth son, Sir James Gordon, of Letterfury, was Admiral of the Fleet, and went on Arran's luckless expedition in 1513. Lady Catherine Gordon, the Earl's eldest daughter, a lady of great beauty and accomplishments, was married by the King in 1496 to Perkin Warbeck, then styled Prince Richard of England. On the execution of her husband by Henry VII. that King recommended her to the care of his Queen and assigned her a pension, while the popular voice gave her the name of the White Rose of England. She married secondly Sir Matthew Craddock, whose blood runs in the veins of the Earls of Pembroke.