DEATH OF COSMO-GEORGE—ALEXANDER, FOURTH DUKE OF
GORDON—HIS MARRIAGE—CREATED A BRITISH PEER—HE RAISED
TWO REGIMENTS—THE REEL 0’ BOGIE—THE DUKE AS A LANDLORD—HIS DEATH.
IN 1752 the Duke of Gordon went on a tour
through France. While near Amiens he died on the 5th of August, in the
thirty-third year of his age. His body was embalmed in France, and thence
conveyed to the chapel near Gordon Castle, and afterwards interred in
He left three sons and three daughters; and was
succeeded by his eldest son, Alexander, Fourth Duke of Gordon, then a boy
of nine years. Lord William Gordon joined the army at an early age, and
served in the East Indies. Subsequently he was appointed a deputy-keeper
of St. James’s Park. On the 1st of March, 1781, he married Frances, a
daughter of Charles, ninth Viscount of Irvine. He died in May, 1824 Lord
George died unmarried on the 1st of November, 1792.
Lady Susan Gordon married, first, John, Earl of
Westmorland; and, secondly, Lieutenant-Colonel John Wood-ford. She died on
the 11th of December, 1814. Lady Catherine married Thomas Booker, Esq. She
died on the 3rd of January, 1797. Lady
Anne married the Rev. Alexander Chalmers, minister of the parish of
Alexander, Fourth Duke of Gordon, was born on the 18th
of June, 1743. In 1761 he was elected one of the Representative
Peers of Scotland. He was created a Knight of the Order of the Thistle in
1775. It appears that Professor Ogilvie, of Aberdeen, acted as
travelling tutor to the Duke, who in 1761 visited Italy, and stayed for
some time in the country of the Grand Duke of Tuscany.
He married, first, in 1767, Lady Jane, a daughter of
Sir William Maxwell, Bart., of Moreth, by whom he had two sons and five
daughters. He married, secondly, Mrs. Christie, in 1820, by whom he had no
On the 12th of February, 1784, he was enrolled amongst
the British Peers, under the title of Baron Gordon of Huntly and Earl of
Norwich, which he inherited through Lady Elizabeth Howard, his
great-grandmother. He also inherited the baronies of Beauchamp and
Mordaunt, and the lands of Durris, as heir-general of the Earl of
The Duke was a man of great energy and public spirit.
His wife, the Duchess of Gordon, was also a highly-gifted lady, with fine
personal attractions and remarkable talents. Many of her husband’s
enterprises were admirably supported by her active and enthusiastic
In 1778 he raised a regiment of Fencibles, numbering
960 men. They were recruited on the Duke’s estates in the counties of
Aberdeen, Banff, Moray, and Inverness. This regiment was embodied at
Aberdeen, and continued in service till 1783, when
it was reduced. During the five years that the regiment was embodied only
24 men died.
In 1793, the Duke, assisted by
the winning manner and efforts of the Duchess, raised another regiment of
Fencibles. He raised over 300 men on his own estates
of Badenoch, Lochaber, and Strathspey; and nearly the same number was
enlisted on the neighbouring estates; while about 150
were recruited on the Lowlands of the counties of Moray,
Banff, and Aberdeen. The uniform of the men consisted of the Highland
garb. This regiment was embodied at Aberdeen. In 1794 the regiment was
removed to England, and was reviewed by George III. in Hyde Park The
regiment, with other fencible regiments, was disbanded in 1799.
The Duke was an accomplished and exceedingly genial
gentleman. On the 20th of February, 1793, he was elected Lord Chancellor
of the University and King’s College, Aberdeen. The minute records that
:—"His Grace is of all
others the most natural choice, several of his predecessors having held
that office, and his father and many of that family and their connections
having been educated here." The Duke continued Chancellor till his death.
When Burns, on the 7th September, 1787, visited Gordon
Castle, he wrote the following note :—"Fine
palace, worthy of the noble, polite, and generous proprietor. The Duke
makes me happier than ever great man did—noble, princely; yet mild,
condescending, and affable, gay and kind—the Duchess charming, witty, and
sensible - God bless them." Burns greatly admired the Castle and its
surroundings, and wrote :—
"Give me the stream that sweetly
The banks of Castle Gordon."
The Duke of Gordon himself is the reputed author of a
popular version of the song called "The Reel o’ Bogie." It
is a characteristic song, and has been long associated with the
dance tune of the same name. A few verses may be
"In foursome reel’s the Scotch delight,
At threesomes they dance wond’rous light.
But twasomes ding a’ out o' sight,
Danced to the reel o' Bogie.
Come, lads, and view your partners well,
Wile each a blythesome rogie;
I’ll tak’ this lassie to mysel,
She looks sae clean and vogie.
Now, piper lad, bang up the spring;
The country fashion is the thing—
To pree their mou’s ere we begin,
To dance the reel o’ Bogie.
Now, ilka lad has got a lass,
Save yon auld doited fogie,
And ta’en a fling upon the grass,
As they do in Stra’bogie.
But a’ the lassies look sae fain,
We canna think oursel’s to bain,
For they maun hae their come-again,
To dance the reel o’ Bogie.
Now a’ the lads hae done their best,
Like true men o’ Stra’bogie.
We’ll stop a while and tak’ a rest,
And tipple out a cogie.
Come now, my lads, and tak’ your glass,
And try ilk other to surpass,
And wishin’ health to every lass,
To dance the reel o’ Bogie."
William Marshall, who was born in Fochabers
on the 27th of December, 1748, was engaged as house
stewart and butler to the Duke of Gordon till 1790;
and afterwards he acted as factor to the Duke till 1817. Marshall
was a famous violin-player, and an able and
assiduous composer. Two hundred and eighty-seven of his tunes have been
published, in three collections, the first of which appeared in 1793,
containing 36 tunes; the second in
1822, embracing 170
tunes; and the third in 1847, which was issued after his
death. It is said by eminent authorities on Scottish dance music, that his
second collection is the finest ever published by any Scottish composer.
Many of his strathspeys were very spirited and popular in the north, such
as "The Bog o’ Gight," "The Duke of Gordon’s Birthday," "Gordon Castle," "Craigellachie
Bridge," "The Marchioness of Huntly," "The Marquis of Huntly," "Huntly
Lodge," "The Duchess of Richmond," and many others.
Marshall was a faithful and trusted servant of the
Duke, and a highly-respected man. He died on the 29th of May, 1833, in his
The Duke of Gordon was Lord Superior of the town of
Huntly—a burgh of barony—as his predecessors had been for three centuries.
He was appointed keeper of the Great Seal of Scotland and Lord-Lieutenant
He was a very kind and considerate landlord. He was one
of those who fully recognised that property and wealth have many
responsibilities and important duties attached to them. Thus his example
and great influence had a beneficial effect upon others.
He died on the 17th of June, 1827.
He had two sons and five daughters, and was succeeded by
his eldest son, George, fifth and last Duke of Gordon, Alexander, his
second son, joined the army, and died in 1808.
Lady Charlotte Gordon married Charles, fourth Duke of
Richmond; and their son afterward inherited the estates of the Dukedom of
Lady Madelina married first, Sir Robert Sinclair, Bart;
and, secondly, Charles F. Palmer, of Lockly Park, Berks. Lady Susan
married the Duke of Manchester. Lady Lousia married the second Marquis of
Cornwallis. Lady Georgina married the Duke of Bedford.