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The Scottish Nation
Eglinton


EGLINTON, a surname derived from lands of that name in the district of Cunningham, county of Ayr and possessed by an ancient family, some of whom were witnesses to the charters of king William the Lion and Alexander the Second and Third. In the Ragman Roll appear the names of Sir Radulphus and Sir Ranulph de Eglinton, as among those who swore a forced fealty to Edward the First in 1296. In 1361 Sir Hugh de Eglinton was justiciary of Lothian, and six years thereafter he was one of the commissioners for a treaty with England. He married Egidia, or Giles, daughter of Walter, high steward of Scotland, and sister of King Robert the Second, widow of Sir James Lindsay of Crawford, and soon after the accession of his brother-in-law to the throne, his majesty granted to him certain lands in Ayrshire, Lanarkshire, and Mid Lothian. He appears to have died soon after 1376. He had an only daughter, his sole heiress, Elizabeth, who married Sir John Montgomery, the seventh laird of Eaglesham, ancestor of the earls of Eglinton. [See MONTGOMERY, surname of.] With her Sir John obtained the baronies of Eglinton and Ardrossan, and the large possessions of the Eglinton family, and in consequence of this marriage he quartered the arms of Eglinton with his own.

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EGLINTON, Earl of, a title in the peerage of Scotland, conferred in the year 1507, on Hugh, third Lord Montgomery, descended in a direct line from the above Sir John Montgomery of Eaglesham, and his wife Elizabeth de Eglinton. This Sir John Montgomery (for whose extraction and descent see MONTGOMERY, surname of) invariably proved himself a true friend of his country, and in 1388, he and his eldest son, Hugh, accompanied the earl of Douglas in his expedition into England, and distinguished himself at the battle of Otterburn, or Chevy Chase, where he commanded part of the Scots force, by taking prisoner Henry Percy, surnamed Hotspur. According to the Scotch version of the ballad on this famous fight:

           “The Percy and Montgomery met,
That either of other were fain;
They swapped swords, and they twa swat,
And aye the blood ran down between.

                        “‘Yield thee, O yield thee, Percy!’ he said,
            ‘Or else I shall lay thee low!’
‘Whom to shall I yield,’ earl Percy said.
‘Sin I see it maun be so?’

                        ‘”’I will not yield to a braken bush,
                              Nor yet will I to a brier,
                        But I would yield to Earl Douglas,
                              Or Sir Hugh Montgomery if he were here.’

               “As soon as he knew it was Montgomery,
He stuck his sword’s point to the ground;
And Sir Hugh the Montgomery was a courteous knight,
And quickly took him by the hand.”

Hugh, being a common name in the Montgomery family, is here employed instead of John. At the same battle Hugh, the eldest son of this gallant knight, was slain by an arrow, which transfixed his heart. With Percy’s ransom Sir John built the castle of Polnoon in Renfrewshire, which has ever since continued one of the seats of the family. He had four sons, and was succeeded by Sir John Montgomery, the second son, Hugh, the eldest, having left no issue. Alexander, the third son, was designed of Bonnington. The youngest, who became tutor to his grand nephew, the third lord Montgomery, was also named Hugh, having been born after his eldest brother’s death.

      Sir John Montgomery, the second son and successor, designed of Eaglesham, Eglinton, and Ardrossan, obtained letters of safeguard into England, on 21st September 1405, and also on 1st November 1406, to treat for the release of the earl of Douglas, who had been taken prisoner at the battle of Homildon in 1402, and on 20th April 1408 he became one of his hostages. He was soon, however, released, as, on 15th May 1412, he had a letter of safe-conduct into England. His lordship, along with William Lauder, bishop of Glasgow, lord high chancellor of Scotland, and other commissioners, had a letter of safe-conduct, 12th May 1423, to treat about the ransom of King James the First, and he had another to the same effect 16th September following. He was one of the hostages for King James, his annual revenue being established at seven hundred marks. He returned to Scotland in 1424, and received the honour of knighthood at his majesty’s coronation. He was one of the jury on the trial of Murdach, duke of Albany, his two sons, and the duke of Lennox, at Stirling, 24th May 1425. He died before August 10, 1430. By his wife, Margaret, only daughter of Sir Robert Maxwell of Caerlaverock, he had two sons and two daughters. Robert, the second son, was ancestor of the Montgomeries of Macbiehill and Stanhope, in the county of Peebles, baronets, and of other families of the name.

      Sir Alexander de Montgomery of Ardrossan, the eldest son, a man of great abilities, was by James the First admitted, in 1425, when but a youth, a member of his privy council, and in August 1430 was appointed governor of Kintyre and Knapdale, jointly with Sir Robert Cunningham of Kilmaurs, ancestor of the earls of Glencairn. After the assassination of King James the First, being in equal favour with his son, King James the Second, he was continued in the privy council. From that monarch he obtained several grants of land, in consideration of his great loyalty and faithful services, and in 1438 was joined with Sir Alexander Gordon and Mr. John Methven, secretary of state, and other commissioners, to treat of a peace with the English, when they concluded a truce for nine years. In 1444, 1447 and 1449, he was also much employed in negociations with England, and in 1451 he was one of the conservators of the truce with that kingdom. He was created a lord of parliament by the title of Lord Montgomery, before 31st January 1448-9, when the office of bailiary of the barony of Cunningham was granted to him. IN 1459, he was again a conservator of a truce with England, and on 2d June 1460, he obtained a safe-conduct to go into that kingdom with twenty persons in his train, on the affairs of the truce. He died soon after 6th June 1461. With three daughters, he had three sons, Alexander, master of Montgomery, who predeceased his father, in 1452; George, ancestor of the Montgomeries of Skelmorley, from whom the present earl of Eglinton descends through an heiress; and Thomas, rector of Eaglesham.

      The master of Montgomery had married Elizabeth, eldest daughter of Sir Adam Hepburn of Hales, and by her had Alexander, second Lord Montgomery; Robert of Breadstane, from whom the earls of Mount Alexander, Viscounts Montgomery, in Ireland (titles which became extinct in 1758), and the Montgomeries of Grey Abbey, Downshire, were lineally descended; Hugh Montgomery of Hislot; and a daughter, Margaret, the wife of Alexander, first lord Home.

      Alexander, second Lord Montgomery, who succeeded his grandfather in 1461, had also three sons, Hugh, James of Smithston, and John.

      The eldest son, Hugh, third Lord Montgomery, and first earl of Eglinton, born about 1460, being under age at his father’s death, was placed under the tutorship of his father’s uncle, Hugh Montgomery, as already stated. He attached himself to the party of James the Fourth, and on the accession of that monarch to the throne in 1488, he was made by him one of his privy council. On the 14th October the same year, for the good services done to his majesty by him, particularly in the field of Sauchieburn near Stirling on the 11th of June, he obtained a remission for throwing down the house of Turnelaw, and carrying off goods from thence, and for all other offences committed by him previous to the 29th August preceding the said 14th of October. In 1489 he obtained a grant of the constabulary of the royal castle of Rothesay, and on 4th July 1498, he had a charter of the offices of bailie of Cunningham and chamberlain of the town of Irvine, which offices had formerly belonged to his grandfather, Alexander Montgomery. The grant of the office of bailiary of Cunningham produced a feud between the Eglinton and Glencairn families which occasionally led to deeds of violence, and caused tedious and fruitless appeals to umpires till after the union of the crowns. In 1507 Lord Montgomery was created earl of Eglinton. After the fatal field of Flodden, 9th September 1513, he was one of the peers who met in parliament at Perth early in the following month, when the coronation of the infant king, James the Fifth, was fixed for the 21st of the same month, and he was nominated one of the queen mother’s counsellors. On 28th October 1515, he was made keeper of the Isle of Little Cumray, for the preservation of the game there, till the king should be fifteen years of age, and on 21st February 1526-7, he was appointed justice-general of the northern parts of Scotland, till James should attain the age of twenty-five years. After the young king’s escape from the yoke of the Douglases in May 1528, the earl and his second son, Lord Montgomery, were among the nobles who attended the first free council held by his majesty at Stirling. In November of the same year the earl’s house of Eglinton was burnt by William Cunningham, master of Glendairn and his accomplices, and in consequence of the charters, writs, and evidents of his lands being destroyed therein, the king granted him a new charter of them under the great seal, dated 23d January 1528-9. On the king’s matrimonial excursion to France in 1536, the earl of Eglinton was appointed a member of the regency empowered to administer the government in his absence, the other members being Bethune, archbishop of St. Andrews, Dunsar, archbishop of Glasgow, the earls of Huntly and Montrose, and Lord Maxwell. On December 24, 1540, a remission was granted to Hugh, earl of Eglinton, his two sons, and thirty others, for abiding from the army at Solway. He died in June 1545, in the 85th year of his age. He had lived in the time of five sovereigns of Scotland, having been born in the last year of King James the Second, and died in the third of Queen Mary. With six daughters he had six sons. Alexander, Lord Montgomery, his eldest son, died in 1498, unmarried; John, the second son, at first designed master of Eglinton, was after his brother’s death, styled Lord Montgomery; Sir Niel, the third, was ancestor of the Montgomeries of Lainshaw; William of Greenfield, the fourth son, was ancestor of the Montgomeries of Auchenhood and other families of the name; Hugh, the fifth, married Jean, daughter and heiress of Lord Lisle; and Robert, the youngest, was bishop of Argyle, and had three sons, who were legitimated after his death.

      John, the second but eldest surviving son, is designed master of Montgomery in the records of parliament, 12th July 1505, On 18th November of that year, he was summoned to underlie the law and censure of treason, for wounding William Cunningham of Craigends. In the famous street conflict at Edinburgh, between the earls of Arran and Angus, and their adherents, on 28th April 1520, he was killed on the side of Arran, in the lifetime of his father. By his wife, Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Archibald Edmonstone of Duntreath, he had (with a daughter, Christian, married to Sir James Douglas of Drumlanrig, ancestor of the dukes of Queenberry) two sons, Archibald master of Eglinton, and Hugh, second earl. The name of the former occurs in the records of parliament, 21st November 1526, as having been on the king’s side, but in reality on that of the Douglases, in the encounters with Scott of Buccleuch at Melrose, and the earl of Lennox at Linlithgow that year, and he died soon after without issue.

      Hugh, second earl of Eglinton, succeeded his grandfather in June 1545, and died 3d September 1546. Bu is countess, Mariota, daughter of the third Lord Seton, he had, with two daughters, a son, Hugh, third earl, who was a minor when he succeeded to the honours and estates of his family. In May 1561, with others of the nobility, he accompanied the Lord James Stewart, afterwards the regent Moray, when he went to France to invite the young queen, Mary, on the death of her husband, the French king, Francis, to return to Scotland, and on her voyage home, in August of that year, he was on board the only ship taken by the English fleet sent to intercept her, but soon after being carried to London, he was released. He adhered firmly to Mary, in all her troubles, and at the head of his retainers was personally engaged on her side at the battle of Langside, where he was taken prisoner. In the parliament held by the regent Moray, 19th August 1568, he was declared guilty of treason. He long continued faithful to the queen’s cause but at last, in April 1571, by the persuasion of the earl of Morton, soon after elected regent, with the earls of Argyle and Cassillis, and other lords of the queen’s party, he submitted to the king’s authority, and appeared in the parliament held at Stirling in September of that year. In the parliament held in the same place in July 1578, he was chosen one of the lords of the articles. He died in June 1585, having been twice married, first, to Lady Jean Hamilton, youngest daughter of the regent Arran, duke of Chatelherault, which marriage, on account of consanguinity, was dissolved in 1562; and, secondly, to Margaret, daughter of Sir John Drummond of Innerpeffry, by whom he had two sons and two daughters, namely, Hugh, fourth earl of Eglinton, and Robert of Giffen, who, by his wife, Margaret, daughter of Sir Mathew Campbell of Loundoun, had one daughter, his sole heiress, married to her cousin, Hugh, fifth earl of Eglinton; Margaret, the earl’s elder daughter, was married to Robert earl of Wintoun, and carried on the line of this family. The second daughter, Agnes, married Robert, fourth lord Semple.

      Hugh, the fourth earl, a youth of great promise and singular endowments, enjoyed his inheritance only about ten months, having, on 19th April 1586, fallen the victim of his family’s hereditary feud. As he was riding, after dinner on that day, attended only by his ordinary domestics, from his own castle of Eglinton towards Stirling, where the court then was, he was attacked in the low grounds near the bridge of Annock, by John Cunningham, brother of the earl of Glencairn, David Cunningham of Robertland, John Cunningham of Clonbeith, Alexander Cunningham of Corsehill, and others of the name, to the number of thirty-four, and his small retinue being dispersed or slain, he was himself shot dead by a pistol fired by Cunningham of Clonbeith. He had dined at the house of Lainshaw, and it is said that the Cunninghams got notice of his being there by the Lady of Lainshaw, Margaret Cunningham, a daughter of Cunningham of Aiket, (others say, it was a servant of the name of Cunningham) hanging a white table napkin from the battlements, as a signal, most of the parties implicated in the murder residing within sight of it. The earl of Glencairn disclaimed all connexion with this foul act, and left his friends to the law. In the meantime, the friends of the Eglinton family flew to arms, and killed every Cunningham that came in their way. The laird of Aiket, one of th principal persons concerned in the bloody deed, was shot near his own house; Robertland and Corsehill escaped; Clonbeith, the actual murderer, was pursued by a party of Montgomeries, with the earl’s brother, the master of Eglinton at their head, as far as Hamilton, and a house in which he had taken refuge being beset, he was discovered by John Pollok of that ilk, a bold daring man, son-in-law of the laird of Lainshaw, concealed in a chimney, on which he was cut to pieces on the spot. The lady of Lainshaw was forced to abscond, it was said to Ireland, but she was for a long time concealed in the house of one of her husband’s tenants. Twenty years after this event, namely, on the 1st of July 1606, the feud between the Montgomeries and Cunninghams again broke out in a violent tumult at Perth, under the very eyes of the parliament and the privy council, and the matters in dispute between them having been referred by his majesty to six on either side, were finally settled by the active negociation of his majesty’s commissioner, the earl of Dunbar, in the following February.

      Hugh, fifth earl, only son of the murdered nobleman, was an infant when deprived of his father, and in consequence was placed under the charge of his maternal uncle, Robert Boyd of Badenheath, his mother, the widowed countess, being Egidia, (or Giles,) eldest daughter of Robert fourth Lord Boyd. He was in especial favour with King James the Sixth, who had planned a marriage between him and the Lady Gabriella Stuart, sister of the duke of Lennox, which, however, did not take place, owing, it is supposed, to the death of the lady. He obtained a grant of all the lands and titles that had belonged to the dissolved abbey of Kilwinning, with the patronage of sixteen parish churches, all of which were erected into a temporal lordship, of which he had a charter under the great seal, 5th January 1603-4. He married his cousin, Margaret, daughter and sole heiress of Robert Montgomery of Giffen, an unhappy marriage, according to the MS. history of the family, as it ended in a divorce, and the lady afterwards became the wife of the sixth Lord Boyd. Having no issue, he made a resignation and settlement of the earldom and entail on Sir Alexander Seton of Foulstruther, son of his aunt, Margaret, countess of Wintoun, (heir of line of the family,) and the heirs male of his body, he and they taking the name and arms of Montgomery; which settlement was confirmed by charter under the great seal, dated 28th November 1611; and his lordship died in the following year.

      He was succeeded as sixth earl by his cousin, the said Sir Alexander Seton, who, in accordance with the deed of adoption, changed his name to Montgomerie. From King James the Sixth he obtained a charter, dated at Whitehall, 24th March 1615, ratifying and confirming all the honours, dignities and precedency, enjoyed by any former earl of Eglinton. According to a family anecdote, his lordship of Kilwinning, that had been granted to the fifth earl by charter in January 1603-4, having been conferred by the king on Sir Michael Balfour, of Burleigh, the earl who, from his bold and undaunted character, had acquired the cognomen of Greysteel, remonstrated in strong terms against this invasion of his rights, but receiving no redress, after a tedious correspondence, he waited personally upon the king’s favourite for the time, (Car, earl of Somerset,) and signified to him that though little acquainted with the intricacies of the law, or of court etiquette, he knew the use of his sword, and expected to have justice done to him. The result was an immediate inquiry into the merits of the case, and his claims being found just, the property was restored to him, and a charter of confirmation of the former one granted 26th April 1615. For the delay that took place in the recognition of his titles, the continuator of Nisbet (System of Heraldry, vol. ii. p. 59) endeavours to account by saying “Though Montgomerie, earl of Eglinton, could dispose of his estate, he could not make over his honours to Sir Alexander Seton, and it was some time before King James the Sixth could be prevailed upon to confirm them, which was at last done by the intercession of the queen, upon Seton’s marrying Lady Anne Livingstone (daughter of Alexander, firs earl of Linlithgow) who was one of the queen’s maids of honour, and the titles and precedency of the earls of Eglinton were confirmed to him.” This marriage, however, had taken place two or three years before, as it appears from the register of the parish of Tranent, that the eldest son was born on the 8th April 1613. Playfair (British Family Antiquity, vol. iii. p. 277) says that the fifth earl had one son, Robert, who died before his father, in 1602, leaving a daughter, the wife of Robert, Lord Boyd, without issue, and she, surviving her grandfather, immediately on his death, assumed the titles of Eglinton, as his heir of line, but afterwards yielded them to Alexander, sixth earl, by a deed dated 4th March 1615. All this, however, is a manifest error. It appears that it was through the influence of his uncle, the earl of Dunfermline, then lord chancellor, and of Lord Binning, afterwards earl of Melrose and Haddington, that he was at last allowed the earldom.

      The earl of Eglinton was one of the Scots nobles who attended the funeral of James the Sixth in Westminster Abbey, on the 7th May 1625. On the rising of the Scots parliament, 28th May 1633, he carried the sword before King Charles the First, from the parliament-house, Edinburgh, to Holyrood-house palace. On the 7th September 1641 he was admitted a member of his majesty’s privy council. On the 13th November the same year, he was one of the councillors nominated by the Scots parliament, and also a commissioner for receiving brotherly assistance from the parliament of England and for serving the articles of the treaty with that nation. In 1642 he was a member of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, when the solemn league and covenant was resolved upon, and the same year he had the command of one of the regiments sent to Ireland, to suppress the rebellion there. In 1643 he was in the Scots army sent to the assistance of the English parliament, and was present at the battle of Marston Moore that year, when the royalists were defeated. In 1646 he was elected one of the committee of estates during the interval betwixt the sessions of parliament. In 1648 he opposed the “Engagement” to march into England, to attempt the relief of the king, and on the defeat of the duke of Hamilton at Preston being known in Scotland, a party of the western Covenanters, under the command of the earl’s youngest son, Robert Montgomerie, attacked a troop of the earl of Lanark’s horse, quartered in Ayrshire, killed some, and routed the rest. The committee of estates immediately ordered out all the fencible men in the kingdom to put down the rising; but at the head of a large body of Covenanters, with the lord chancellor Loudoun, and some ministers, the earl, who had joined the party of the marquis of Argyle, advanced to Edinburgh, which city they entered without opposition, the magistrates and ministers, on their approach, going out to welcome them. After the disbanding of the two opposing armies, Argyle, the chancellor Loudoun, the earl of Eglinton and others, met at Edinburgh, and, under the title of the committee of estates, summoned a parliament on the 4th of January 1649. On King Charles the Second’s arrival in Scotland in 1650, the earl was appointed colonel of his majesty’s horse regiment of life-guards (Balfour’s Annals, vol. iv. p. 85), and by his advice his majesty came from Stirling, on the 29th July, to visit the camp at Leith. His lordship was present at Dunfermline, with Argyle, Lothian, Tweeddale, Lorn, and other heads of that party, at the first council held by the king since his coming to Scotland, when the famous ‘declaration’ was presented to his majesty, which, with some modification, was signed by Charles on the 16th of August. In the following year the earl raised a regiment for the king’s service, but with his fourth son James, was surprised at Dumbarton, when in bed, by a party of English horse, and sent prisoner first to Hull, and then to Berwick, where he remained in confinement till the Restoration, when he was restored to all his estates and honours. He died 7th January 1661, in the 71st year of his age.

      His first countess died in 1632, and he married again, Margaret, eldest daughter of Walter, first Lord Scott of Buccleuch, widow of Lord Ross, but by her he had no issue. By his first wife he had, with two daughters, five sons, namely, Hugh, seventh earl; the Hon. Sir Henry Montgomerie of Giffen; the Hon. Alexander, who died in Ireland; the Hon. Colonel James, of Coilsfield, immediate ancestor of the present earl; and the Hon. General Robert Montgomerie, who was first engaged on the side of the parliament, in whose army he attained the rank of major-general, but on the arrival of Charles the Second in Scotland he repaired to the royal standard, and distinguished himself at the battle of Dunbar, 3d April 1650. Accompanying the king into England, he acted as major-general of his majesty’s horse at the battle of Worcester in 1651, and after receiving several wounds he was taken prisoner, and confined in the castle of Edinburgh, whence he escaped in 1659. He afterwards joined Charles the Second on the continent, and was made one of the gentlemen of his bedchamber, returning with him at the Restoration. From his religious and conscientious disposition he was exposed to some suffering in the after persecutions of the period.

      Hugh, seventh earl, born 8th April 1613, continued constant in his attachment to Charles the First, from the beginning of his troubles to the end. In 1643, when Lord Montgomerie, he raised a troop of horse at his own expense, and, marching into England with them, fought at their head on his majesty’s side, at Marston Moor, when his father was in the opposite ranks. He was personally engaged in several other battles and skirmishes in support of the royal cause, for which he was particularly excepted out of Cromwell’s act of indemnity in 1654. At the Restoration he had a large share of Charles’ favour. He died in 1669. He married, first, Anne, daughter of James, marquis of Hamilton, by whom he had an only daughter, Anne; secondly, Lady Mary Leslie, daughter of the fifth earl of Rothes, and had with her five daughters and two sone, Alexander, eighth earl, and the Hon. Francis Montgomerie of Giffen, one of the lords of the privy council, and a commissioner of the Treasury in the reigns of King William and Queen Anne. He was for several years member for Ayrshire in the Scots parliament, and in 1705 was nominated one of the commissioners for the treaty of union. He steadily supported that measure, and in February 1707, he was one of the members chosen to the parliament of Great Britain. The daughters were all married; Lady Mary, to the third earl of Wintoun; Lady Margaret, to the second earl of Loundoun; Lady Christian, to the fourth Lord Balmerino; Lady Eleanora, to Sir David Dunbar of Balnoon, baronet; and Lady Anne, to Sir Andrew Ramsay of Abbotshall, baronet. It is recorded by Wodrow, to the honour of the fourth of these ladies, Lady Eleonora Dunbar, that, during the persecuting times, she concealed and sustained two Presbyterian ministers in a house in Kilwinning for several years. Indeed to the credit of the Eglinton family it may be stated that they never countenanced the oppressive measures of that period, and yet they lost none of their influence at court.

       Alexander, eighth earl, was one of the early supporters of the Revolution, and on 1st May 1689, was sworn one of the lords of the privy council to King William. In 1687, during the ascendency of the prelatic party in Scotland, he had influence enough to procure a license for a presbyterian minister to hold a meeting-house at Kilwinning, to which the gentry and others from the surrounding parishes resorted for baptism to their children, as appears in the session records of that parish. He died in 1701. He was twice married: first, to Lady Elizabeth Crichton, eldest daughter of the second earl of Dumfries, by whom he had three sons and one daughter; and, secondly, in December 1698, to Catherine, daughter of Sir William St. Quentin of Harpham, in the county of York, baronet. This lady had previously been thrice married, and was ninety years of age on her union with Lord Eglinton, and it is said survived him. The family tradition respecting this singular marriage is that, besides being uncommonly elegant in person and manners, she had, on some occasion, been instrumental in essentially promoting his lordship’s interest in his early years.

      His eldest son, Alexander, ninth earl, was one of the privy council of King William and a commissioner of the treasury. In 1700, elected one of the sixteen representative Scots peers, and rechosen in 1713. He was one of Queen Anne’s privy council, and one of the commissioners of the chamberlain court in 1711. During the rebellion of 1715, he actively promoted the training and disciplining of the fencible men of Ayrshire, and joined the earls of Kilmarnock and Glasgow and Lord Sempill at Irvine, 22d August that year, when six thousand men appeared in arms in support of the government. By his prudent management, his lordship cleared the estate of a large amount of debt, and made several purchases of land, and died in March 1729. He was thrice married: first, in 1676, to Margaret, eldest daughter of Lord Cochrane, the son of the first earl of Dundonald; secondly, to Lady Anne Gordon, daughter of the earl of Aberdeen, high chancellor of Scotland; and, thirdly, to Susannah, daughter of Sir Archibald Kennedy of Culzean, baronet, celebrated for her personal beauty, and her patronage of the Scottish muses of her day. It is stated that on her being brought to Edinburgh, just about the time of the Union, by her father, she was surrounded by wooers, of whom Sir John Clerk, baronet, of Pennycuik, was likely to be the successful one, when on consulting the earl, whose second countess was then alive, but in a long-continued state of ill health, as to the propriety of the match, his lordship said, “Bide awee, Sir Archie, my wife’s very sickly.” He was little more than forth when he married this his third countess. To her the Gentle Shepherd, first published in 1725, is dedicated both in Allan Ramsay’s prose and Hamilton of Bangour’s flattering verse. Several other publications of the period were inscribed to her ladyship, and to her Ramsay dedicated the music of his first book of songs, a little work now very rare. At a later period he presented to the countess the original manuscript of his great pastoral poem, which she afterwards gave to James Boswell, and it is now preserved in the library at Auchinleck, along with the presentation letter of the poet. She died in 1780, in the ninety-first year of her age.

      By his first wife the earl had two sons and four daughters, namely, Hugh, Lord Montgomerie, who died while at the college of Glasgow in 1696, unmarried, and Alexander, who also died young. The daughters were all well married. The second daughter, ‘Lady Effie,’ or Euphemia, became the wife of George Lockhart of Carnwath, M.P., commonly called ‘Union Lockhart,’ author of the ‘Memoirs of Scotland,’ and it is said proved an able auxiliary to him in many of his secret intrigues on behalf of the exiled Stuarts. Dr. Daniel Wilson in his Memorials of Edinburgh, vol. ii. p. 21, gives the following curious anecdote of her ladyship, which he says he obtained frm a grandnephew of Lady Lockhart: When not engaged in attending parliament, Mr. Lockhart resided chiefly at his country seat of Dryden, while Lady Effie paid frequent visits to Edinburgh, disguised in male attire. She used to frequent the coffeehouses, and other places of public resort, and joining freely in conversation with the Whig partisans, she often obtained important information. It chanced on one occasion that Mr. Forbes, a zealous Whig, but a man of profligate habits, had been intrusted with some important private papers implicating her husband, to forward to government. Lady Euphemia dressed her two sons, fair and somewhat effeminate-looking youths, in gay female attire, and sending them out to the cross, they soon attracted the notice of the Whig gallant, and so won on him by their attentions that he was induced to accompany them to a neighbouring tavern, where the pretended courtesans fairly drank him below the table, and then rifled him of the dangerous papers.

      By his second wife, the earl had one daughter, Lady Mary Montgomerie, whose beauty is celebrated in Hamilton of Bangour’s poetry, married to Sir David Cunningham of Milnecraig, in Ayrshire, baronet; and by his third wife, the lovely Countess Susannah, he had three sons, James, Lord Montgomerie, who died under age; Alexander, tenth earl of Eglinton, and Archibald, eleventh earl; and seven daughters, who were all married but one. To them their handsome mother transmitted a nobleness of mien, distinguished at the period as the “Eglinton air.”

      Alexander, tenth earl, was only three years of age when he succeeded his father in 1729. In the summer of the following year, a desolating storm of hail spread over three distinct baronies of the Eglinton estate, to the almost utter destruction of the crops. This gave rise to a lawsuit, and after several years’ litigation, the court of session decided that the tenants were not that year liable in rent. Even the miller, to whose mill the corns were astricted, was allowed a deduction from his rent, on account of the defalcation in the multures. In 1748, under the act for abolishing the heritable jurisdictions, his lordship got seven thousand eight hundred pounds, in full of his claim of twelve thousand pounds, for the redeemable sheriffship of Renfrew, the bailiary of the regality of Kilwinning, and the regality of Cunningham. In 1759 he was appointed governor of the castle of Dumbarton, and on the accession of George the Third, in the following year, he was made one of the lords of the bedchamber, but resigned that appointment in 1767. In 1761 he was chosen one of the Scots representative peers, and in 1768 was rechosen. To his patriotic exertions the country chiefly owes the act which abolished the optional clause of the Scots banks to refuse payment of their notes for no less than six months after demand. He first commenced that system of agricultural improvement, introducing a new mode of farming in his own estates, which was soon adopted in other parts of Ayrshire. He also instituted an agricultural society, over which he presided for several years. His death was a violent one, and at the time was considered a severe public loss. While riding on the 24th October 1769, near Ardrossan, his carriage and four servants following him, he met two men, one of whom, Mungo Campbell, an officer of excise at Saltcoats, had a gun in his hand, and alighting from his horse, his lordship desired him, as he had formerly been detected killing game on his estates, to deliver up his gun, which he refused, and, to intimidate him, the earl then ordered his fowling-piece, which was not loaded, to be brought from the carriage. In the scuffle that ensued, Campbell fired at Lord Eglinton, who was mortally wounded, and died about one o’clock the following morning, at Eglinton castle, where he had been carried. The murderer was tried before the high court of justiciary at Edinburgh, and condemned to death, but prevented a public execution by hanging himself in prison. Dying unmarried, the earl was succeeded by his brother, Archibald.

      Archibald, eleventh earl, was a general in the army and colonel of the 512st foot. He raised the 77th foot, Highlanders, of which he was made lieutenant-colonel-commandant, 4th January 1757, and accompanying that corps to America, served under General Amherst in the war which terminated in the peace of 1763. He was M.P. for the county of yr, and held the office of equery to the queen from 1761 to his succession to the title. On 1st March 1764 he was appointed governor of the castle of Dumbarton, and in February 1766, deputy ranger of Hyde Park and St. James’ Park. In 1776 he was elected one of the sixteen Scots representative peers, on a vacancy, and rechosen at the general elections 1780, 1784, and 1790. In 1782 he was appointed governor of the castle of Edinburgh, and in 1793 he raised a regiment of fencibles, of which his cousin, Hugh Montgomerie of Coilsfield, was appointed colonel. He was for some years colonel of the Scots Grey. He died 30th October 1796, having been twice married, and had two daughters, Lady Mary, the elder, married Archibald, Lord Montgomerie, eldest son of Hugh, twelfth earl of Eglinton, thus uniting the lineal and male branches of the family; and Lady Susanna, who died 16th November 1805, in her 18th year, unmarried.

      On the death of the eleventh earl without male issue, a large proportion of the estates devolved upon his elder and only surviving daughter, Lady Montgomerie, while the titles, with about one-half of the lands, fell to the heir male, Hugh Montgomerie of Coilsfield, descended from Colonel James Montgomerie, fourth son of Sir Alexander Seton, sixth earl. The estate of Coilsfield had been purchased by Colonel Montgomerie from the family of Caprington.

      Hugh, twelfth earl, a munificent and patriotic nobleman, born about 1740, entered the army in 1755, as an ensign in a regiment of infantry. He served in America during the greater part of the seven years’ war, and was fourteen years captain in the first or royal regiment of foot. On the commencement of hostilities with France in 1778, he was appointed major in the Argyle or Western Fencibles, which had been raised in the western counties of Scotland, under the joint influence of the Argyle and Eglinton families, of which Lord Frederick Campbell was colonel. At the general election in 1780, Major Montgomerie was chosen M.P. for Ayrshire, in opposition to Sir Adam Ferguson of Kilkerran, baronet, the previous member. He succeeded his father in the estate of Coilsfield, on his death in 1783, and in 1784 was again returned for Ayrshire, but in 1789 vacated his seat on being appointed inspector of military roads, the duties of which office he performed for some years with great assiduity, travelling on foot over extensive tracts of rugged ground in the Highlands, for the purpose of ascertaining the proper courses for the roads. [Douglas’s Peerage, Edited by Wood, vol. i. p. 510.] On the declaration of war by the French convention against Great Britain and Holland in 1793, seven regiments of fencibles were ordered to be raised in Scotland, for the internal defence of the country. Of one of these, the West Lowland fencibles, raised chiefly in Ayrshire, Major Montgomerie was appointed colonel. Although a Lowland regiment, both in name and men, it wore the Highland dress. Soon after he raised a regiment of the line called ‘the Glasgow regiment,’ which was disbanded in 1795, the men being drafted into other regiments. About this time he was appointed lieutenant-governor of Edinburgh castle, in the room of Lord Elphinstone. In 1796 he was again returned member of parliament for the county of Ayr, but almost immediately thereafter he succeeded his cousin, Archibald, in the earldom of Eglinton.

      In 1798 he was elected one of the representative peers of Scotland, on a vacancy, and rechosen at the general election in 1802. In 1806 he was raised to the British peerage by the title of Baron Ardrossan. He was also a Knight of the Thistle, lord-lieutenant of Ayrshire, and one of the prince of Wales’ state councillors in Scotland.

      Distinguished alike by his good taste and his public spirit, the twelfth earl continued the valuable improvements of his lands, especially in the neighbourhood of Kilwinning, which had been begun and carried on by his two immediate predecessors. He also rebuilt Eglinton castle, a magnificent edifice, situated on the banks of the Lugton, 2-1/2 miles north of Irvine in Ayrshire, and 26 from Glasgow. It is of a castellated form, and was built about the year 1798. A spectator, looking upon it from any part of the lawns, has high conceptions of its grandeur, and of the taste and opulence of its proprietor. There is a large circular keep, and at the corners are circular turrets joined together by a curtain, – to use the language of fortification. The whole is pierced with modern windows, which in some degree destroy the castellated effect, but add to the internal comfort. The interior of the fabric corresponds with the magnitude and the beauty of the exterior. From a spacious entrance-hall, a saloon opens, 36 feet in diameter, the whole height of the edifice and lighted from above; and from this the principal rooms enter. All the apartments are spacious, well-lighted, and furnished and adorned in the most superb manner. One of them in the front is 52 feet long, 32 wide, and 24 from floor to ceiling. Everything about the castle contributes to an imposing display of splendid elegance and refined taste. Nor are the lawns around it less admired for their fine woods, varied surfaces, and beautiful scenery. The park is 1,200 acres in extent, and has one-third of its area in plantation.

      In the improvement of the harbour of Ardrossan, at the mouth of the Clyde, the earl expended upwards of a hundred thousand pounds, and was obliged to sell several valuable portions of his estate, and to incur a heavy debt, without accomplishing his object. At his death the works were suspended. He died on the 15th December 1819, aged eighty years. He had married his cousin Eleonora, daughter of Robert Hamilton of Bourtreehill, ayrshire, by whom he had two sons and two daughters. The elder son, Archibald, Lord Montgomerie, a major-general in the army, died on the 4th January 1814, at Alicant in Spain, whither he had gone for the benefit of his health, having had by his wife, Lady Mary Montgomerie above mentioned, two sons, Hugh, who died when about six years of age, and to whose memory an elegant column of white marble was erected by his grandfather in a sequestered spot among the woods near Eglinton castle; and Archibald-William, thirteenth earl. Their widowed mother took for her second husband on 13th January 18215, Sir Charles Montolieu Lamb, baronet, and died 12th June 1848. The Hon. Roger Montgomerie, the earl’s second son, a lieutenant in the navy, died of pestilential disease at Port Royal in Jamaica, in January, 1799, unmarried. The elder daughter, Lady Jane, married in 1828, Edward Archibald Hamilton, Esq. of Blackhouse, formerly of the Hon. East India Company’s service. They resided for a long time at Roselle, a seat of the earl of Eglinton, about two miles from Ayr. Lady Jane Hamilton died in 1859. Lady Lilias, the younger daughter, married first in 1796, Robert Dundas Macqueen, Esq. of Braxfield, who died in 1816, and secondly, in 1817, Richard Alexander Oswald, Esq. of Auchincruive.

      A portrait of the twelfth earl, in the costume of the West Lowland Fencibles, done by subscription, is placed in the Justiciary Hall of the county Buildings, Ayr. It was painted by Sir Henry Raeburn, from the original in Eglinton castle. He was a brave soldier and a strict disciplinarian, but his oratorical powers were not of a high order. His character has been thus correctly depicted by Burns in the ‘Earnest Cry and Prayer,’ as given in Cunningham’s edition of his works:

              “Thee, sodger Hugh, my watchman stented,
If bardies e’er are represented;
I ken, if that your sword were wanted,
           Ye’d lend your hand:
But when there’s ought to say anent it
Ye’re at a stand.”

In private life it is stated that the earl displayed much of the spirit and manners of the ancient baron. He had the finest horses and equipages in the country. He was greatly devoted to music, kept his family piper, and performed himself on the violin with considerable skill. He was the composer of the popular tunes called ‘Lady Montgomerie’s Reel,’ and ‘Ayrshire Lasses,’ besides several other admired airs, a selection of which was published by Mr. Turnbull of Glasgow.

      His grandson, Archibald-William Montgomerie, thirteenth earl, was born 29th December 1812, at Palermo in Sicily, where his father was at the time in the command of British troops. His mother, Lady Mary Montgomerie, was his father’s cousin, and heiress of Archibald, the eleventh earl. In his early years he was intrusted to the care of his aunt, Lady Jane, and during his minority the Eglinton estate was relieved of many of the burdens on it. On obtaining the management of his own affairs in 1833, his lordship recommenced the works which had been so long suspended at Ardrossan, and that harbour, to the importance of which the railway betwixt Glasgow and Ayr adds considerably, is now in a prosperous condition. A circular pier, 900 years in length, covers the harbour on the south and west; while the Horse Isle – a rock presenting about twelve acres of good pasture – shelters it on the north-west; and the isthmus of Kintyre, and the island of Arran protect the channel from the violence of the Atlantic storms.

      The Earl of Eglinton was, at one period, well known on the turf as an eminent supporter and patron of field sports. In August 1839 he got up at Eglinton castle a gorgeous pageant, in imitation of the tournaments of the middle ages, one of the most distinguished actors in which was the price Louis Napoleon, elected 2d December 1852 emperor of the French. The Queen of Beauty on the occasion was Lady Seymour, youngest daughter of Thomas Sheridan, Esq., and grand-daughter of the celebrated Richard Brinsley Sheridan, sister of the Hon. Mrs. Norton. Her ladyship married lord Seymour, son and heir of the duke of Somerset, in 1830. In 1840 the earl of Eglinton was served heir male general of George, fourth earl of Wintoun (the fifth earl, who was attainted, having left no issue). On the accession to office of the earl of Derby’s administration in February 1852, Lord Eglinton was appointed to succeed the earl of Clarendon as lord-lieutenant of Ireland, and remained in that high position until the earl of Aberdeen became Premier in the following December; he was reappointed in March 1858, when the earl of Derby resumed office, and continued in the post till a change of ministry in June 1859. In 1852 he was sworn a member of the privy council, and in November of the same year elected lord-rector of the university of Glasgow. He is a doctor of laws and a doctor of civil law. In 1842 he was appointed lord-lieutenant of Ayrshire, and was colonel of the Ayrshire militia from 1836 to 1852, when he resigned. In 1853 he was made a knight of the Thistle, and in June 1859 created earl of Winton in the peerage of the United Kingdom. He married, 1st in 1841, Theresa, daughter of Charles Newcomen, Esq., and widow of Richard Howe Cockerel, Esq., Commander, Royal Navy, by whom he had issue, Archibald-William, Lord Montgomerie, born in 1841; Lady Egidia, born in 1843; Hon. Seton-Montolieu, born in 1846; Hon. George Arnulph, born in 1848. The countess died in 1853, and the earl married, 2dly, in 1858, when lord-lieutenant of Ireland, Lady Adela-Caroline Harriett Capel, born in 1828, daughter of Arthur Algernon, 6th earl of Essex; issue, two daughters. The countess died December 31, 1860, after having given birth to a daughter on the 7th. The earl’s titles are, Baron Montgomerie (conferred before 1449), earl of Eglinton (before 1508), Baron Kilwinning (1615), in the peerage of Scotland, and Baron Ardrossan of Ardrossan (1806), and earl of Winton (1859) in the peerage of the United Kingdom. He has distinguished himself by promoting agricultural improvements among his tenantry, and general education among the people on his estates. He was one of the most popular and enlightened lords-lieutenant that Ireland has possessed.


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