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Borrowstounness and District
Chapter II. The House of Hamilton and Kinneil

1. Friar Hamilton's "Historie" and Sir Gilbert's "Exploit" on Kinneil Muir : The Modern Authorities on the Family—2. The First Lord Hamilton and his Reclamations on Kinneil Foreshore: Marries-Princess Mary: Second Lord Hamilton and First Earl of Arran: A Famous Archer and Horseman : Visit of James IV. to Kinneil—3. Second Earl of Arran: Governor during Minority of Queen Mary His Report on the Forth Landing Places : Duchy of Chatelherault Granted him: Imprisoned Edinburgh Castle—4. The First Marquis; of Hamilton: The Spurious Earl of Arran Securcs Kinneil: Intimacy between James VI. and Hamilton: King's Amusing Letter—5. Second Marquis : His Historic Actions as the King's Commissioner in Scots Parliament: The Five Articles of Perth Ratified: His Sudden Death at Whitehall: Supposed Treachery—6. Third Marquis and First Duke: King Charles' Commissioner to Settle-Religious Disorders in Scotland: Alarming Opposition from Duke's-Mother—7. Her Strong Character and Extracts from her Wonder-fnl Will: Duke and the Engagers: Capture and Imprisonment: Beheaded in Palaceyard: Body Sent to Kinneil—8. William, Second Duke: The Commonwealth: Kinneil Lands given to General Monk: William Fights against Cromwell: Wounded at Worcester and Dies there—9. Anne, Duchess of Hamilton in her own right Marries Lord William Douglas, afterwards Created by Courtesy Duke of Hamilton: Duchess Anne and Duke William and Development of Borrowstounness: Alterations and Enlargements at Kinneil House : Indications of their Local Undertakings: William Strongly Opposes Lauderdale: Welcomes Prince of Orange: Duchess Anne Long Survives her Husband and Son—10. James, Fourth Duke : A Strong Jacobite: Defends the Darien Scheme: His Fickle Behaviour over Union of 1707 : Loses Confidence of Scottish people: Created Duke of Brandon by Queen Anne—11. The Duke's Share in Queen's Historic Creation of Peers: His Tragic Death in Duel: His son Lord Anne.


The representatives of the house of Hamilton have been proprietors of most of the land in the old Parishes of Kinneil and Borrowstounness for nearly six hundred years.

The barony of Kinneil is one of their most ancient possessions, and is associated with many interesting events in the history of the family. According to "Ffrier Mark Hamiltonis Historie King Robert the Bruce gave all the lands of Kinneil to Sir Gilbert Hamilton " for his trew service and greit manheid," and especially for having slain "for King Robertis pleasour the great lieutennand of Yngland upon Kynnale Muir." Sir Gilbert had been with the Bruce on the field of Bannockburn, and was one of the seven knights that kept the King's person. For Sir Gilbert's exploit upon Kynnale Muir, he tells us, "King Robert gaif till him his armis till weir in Scotland thre sink fuilzies1 in ane bludy field." In connection with the alleged "exploit" on the muir, Mr. M'Kenzie2 has stated that in a place formerly known as Kinneil Muir a remarkable stone lay near the road, which was at one time used as a thoroughfare between Linlithgow and Falkirk or Stirling. It was seven feet long, five feet broad, and three feet thick. Its upper surface had been roughly dressed, a groove had been cut round the border with a cross in the centre. The stone had a monumental appearance, but there was no vestige of tradition regarding it. The only explanation that occurs is that it might have been meant to mark the resting-place of ''the great lieutennand of Yngland," whoever that worthy was. Early in the nineteenth century the stone, being an obstruction to the plough, was blown to pieces and removed. But to return to "Schir Gilbert." We are told he persevered continually with King Robert " in trew service on till ye end of his dayis, and was at his buriing in ye Abbay of Dunfermling." He appears to have been "ane naturall oratour," and gave the funeral oration on that occasion.

We have no desire to discredit the alluring narrative of the learned "Ffrier" concerning Sir Gilbert and his adventures

Lady Anne Cuningham, wife of James, Second Marquis of Hamilton, and mother of James, Third Marquis, afterwards First Duke. (Photographed by permission from a painting in Hamilton Palace.) at Bannockburn, and on Kinneil Muir, but his statements do not accord with the information given in Anderson's "Memoirs of the House of Hamilton," or in the recent work of the Lyon King, Sir J. Balfour Paul.

The present Duke is the twenty-third possessor, and the first of the family is given in both these authorities as Walter Fitz-Gilbert (Walter son of Gilbert). He appears under that designation in 1294 or thereabouts. Walter is reported to have sworn fealty to King Edward I. in 1296 at Berwick, and remained an English partisan till the capture of Bothwell Castle by a detachment of the Scottish army after Bannockburn. Quite evidently there was a Gilbert; but it is difficult to believe that Walter, his son, should have been on King Edward's side at the time of Bannockburn whilst the father, according to the "Ffrier" was with Bruce in that battle, and "ane of the seven knights that kept the King's person." This may have been possible, but it does not seem very probable.

Walter is reported to have joined the Bruce after his capture at Bothwell Castle, and was knighted. Later, King Robert made him several grants of land, and among those the lands of Kinneil. Sir Walter was twice married, and the grant of Kinneil in 1323 was to him and Mary Gordon, his second wife, and to his heirs by her.


In an Appendix will be found a complete list of the Hamilton family in the order of their succession, with a few notes concerning each. Several of its members, however, have figured so conspicuously in Scottish history, as well as in our local affairs, that we must now devote our attention to these for a little.

The first of the family to take a prominent place in Scottish history was the second James of Cadzow, who became the first Lord Hamilton in 1445. He was a strong supporter of the Douglas family, to whom he became allied by his first marriage. When King James II., in 1455, besieged the Castle of Abercorn,. then a possession of the Douglas, Hamilton and Douglas mustered a strong force, but were unsuccessful in raising the siege. The Castle of Inveravon, situated about three miles to the west of Bo'ness, also belonging to the Douglas, was next demolished. The Hamiltons then became alienated from the Douglases, and Hamilton, through the influence of an uncle, was raised into the King's favour. In October of the same year he received a special charter of his lands and baronies, including Hamilton and Kinneil.

He devoted much of his energies to the reclamation of land from the sea within his territory of Kinneil by permission of the King. This reclamation was made at great cost. The reclaimed land was secured to him and his second wife, Mary Stewart, sister of King James III., and widow of Thomas Boyd, Earl of Arran, by Royal Charter in 1474, the year of the marriage. The tithes of the ground were to go to a new chapel and hospital which he had built and endowed in the Parish of Shotts.

James, second Lord Hamilton, was the son of the first Lord Hamilton by the Princess Mary. He succeeded in 1479, when only a few years old. James was raised to the dignity of Earl of Arran at Holyrood on 8th August, 1503, when present at the marriage of his cousin, King James IV., to Margaret Tudor, daughter of King Henry VII. of England. The lands and earldom of Arran were bestowed, it is stated, for his nearness of blood, his services, and specially for his labours and expenses at the time of the royal marriage. The Earl had the reputation of being the best archer on horse or foot in Scotland. He kept a famous stud of horses at Kinneil, and his cousin, King James IV., is said to have paid a visit there to see them in 1508.

During the minority of James V. Arran was for a time Regent. Ultimately he was involved in the long series of conflicts for supremacy between the rival factions of Douglas-and Hamilton. He died about 1529, when he made his will and gave up an inventory of his effects at his "place" of Kinneil.


James, second Earl of Arran, succeeded his father while-yet a minor, and was for a time under the tutory of his-uncle. He is said to have been the first builder of the Palace-of Hamilton, probably under the supervision of his uncle. The young man favoured the Presbyterian religion, which was-then secretly spreading in Scotland. Cardinal Beaton consequently had no love for him. Especially was this so-when, on the death of the King after Solway Moss, Beaton saw that Arran was likely to be appointed governor of the realm during the minority of the infant Queen Mary of Scotland. Beaton tried to make out that he, along with three others, had been nominated by the King on his death-bed to be-tutors of the Queen and joint governors. This, however, was put aside, and Arran was chosen governor, as being the nearest-heir to the throne by descent from Lady Mary Stewart, his grandmother. Arran is said to have been of a gentle nature, with a policy that was weak and vacillating.

During his Regency he, in the year 1544, made a report on the harbours and landing places in the Forth, in which we find—"Kyniell—by este Kallendray (presumably Callendar, Falkirk), a myle from the shore and good landinage with botes at a place cauled Barreston."

After being commended by John Knox for his reforming zeal, Arran was prevailed upon to join Beaton's party. The-Duchy of Chatelherault, in France, was granted to him and his heirs about 1549. This gift was prompted by the Queen-mother, Mary of Loraine, as an inducement to resign the Regency of Scotland in her favour. He did not do so, however, until 1554, when he retired into private life. In his later years he-once more supported the Reformers, and his name is first on the list of signatures to the Second Reformation Covenant of 1560. He was also present in the Reforming Parliament of .August in that year. Arran opposed the marriage of Queen Mary to Darnley, and was forced to retire for a time to France, When he returned Mary had been deposed. He was the chief -of Mary's party, and suffered imprisonment in Edinburgh 'Castle, with much loss and damage to his property. His death took place at Hamilton either in 1574 or 1575. The Duke, as he was called in Scotland (no doubt because of Chatelherault), was survived by his wife, the eldest daughter of the Earl of .Morton, who had succeeded the Earl of Lennox as Regent. They had eight children, the eldest of whom was James. This young man showed much promise in his earlier years, and was commander of the Scots Guards in France. He had strong leanings to the Reformers, and the Scots Parliament, in 1560, proposed him as a husband to Queen Elizabeth. Most unhappily, two years later he showed signs of a disordered intellect, and was afterwards pronounced insane. He lingered <on until 1609, and during his lifetime was nominally in possession of the title of Earl of Arran.


The second son having died in youth, next in succession •was John, the third son, who became first Marquis of Hamilton. He was over thirty years of age when he succeeded. Like his father he was a devoted supporter of Queen Mary, and, .also like him, suffered the loss of much property in her cause, including the forfeiture of the Hamilton estates. In 1578 Regent Morton resigned and James VI. ruled in person, but under the influence of low-born favourites. Chief of these was James Stewart, of Bothwell Muir, who figured as Earl of Arran, the insane young Earl having resigned that title in his favour. 'The Raid of Ruthven delivered the young King from the influence of this usurper until the escape of James from Ruthven a year later, when the favourite again became supreme.

In the Hamilton papers we find some correspondence which, indicates that the spurious Earl had not his sorrows to seek, being evidently hard pressed by many enemies. Among his-usurpations he seems to have, at least temporarily, secured Kinneil. One of his letters finishes, "From my houss off Kinnele this 12 Aug. 1585," and is signed "Arraine." He was reported to be still there on 30th August "well accompanied."

In fact, there are several references4 which point to Kinneil being used as his chief residence. This favourite had great influence with and control over the young King, aild we find5 His Majesty reported on 9th May, 1582, as having gone "to Arran's house of Kinneil." Then on 13th November next year he is again reported as staying at Kinneil with Arran.

These were dangerous times for the House of Hamilton. John first fled to England disguised in a seaman's dress, and thence to France. In 1585 he and some other exiled nobles returned, and, with Queen Elizabeth's permission, entered' Scotland, and marched with a force to Stirling, where King James and Arran then were. Arran fled, and the banished1 lords were admitted to the King's presence. King James,, though he had not previously met Hamilton, welcomed him most effusively as a faithful servant of his mother. From then Hamilton speedily rose in the King's favour. At a Parliament at Linlithgow his estates were restored, and he was-appointed keeper of the Castle of Dumbarton. The King and he became very intimate friends, and there was frequent correspondence between them, particularly on matters of sport. One of the King's letters to Hamilton is very amusing, and we quote it in full. It is undated and is much destroyed, but it is thought to be about the year 1597, and written from Holyrood:—

"Milorde as I taulde you at youre being withe me I ame-•sa contineuallie braggit uithe Milord Home that I haue to defend the honoure of Scotlande at this tyme; he uill be heir •on Weddinsdaye next uith nyne couple of fleing fiends, as they saye, thairfore I pray you to send me with the bearare tua or three of your fleitest and fairest running houndis; and because, in goode faithe, I ame disprouydit of horsis I uill in a hamelie maner praye you to send, lykeuyes with the bearare, Griseld •Blackstow,9 or gif he be not in that cace any other hunting horse and on my honestie na boddie sail ryde on him but myself, and baith he and youre doggis sail be returnid to you immediately ... I commandit the guidman of Grange7 to helpe you to choose the doggis. Thus not doubting ye uill be a goode fallou in the aulde maner to this my reasonable request and uith Goddis Grace the Englishe tykis shall be dung doun. I bidd you hair (tilie) fairueill, youre louing freinde in the aulde mainer. James R."

The letter is said to be in the King's best style. It is "hamelie" enough certainly, and we all like to think that the challenge resulted in the honour of Scotland being upheld xt in the aulde mainer."

Hamilton was present at Holyrood at the baptism of the Princess Margaret on 15th April, 1549, and then made a peer. Two days after he was installed with great ceremony in His Majesty's great chamber at Holyrood, his title being proclaimed as Marquis of Hamilton, Earl of Arran, and Lord Evan. He died on 6th April, 1604, his last act being to commend his son to the King's favour. Very shortly before his death he bound over his nephew, Lord Abercorn, to see to the interests of his imbecile brother, who was still alive.

Lord John's wife, who survived him, was Margaret, only daughter of John Lyon, seventh Lord Glamis, and widow of Gilbert, fourth Earl of Cassillis.


James, second Marquis of Hamilton, succeeded his father in 1604 about the age of fifteen. He had been styled Lord Evan on his father's promotion to the Marquisate, as his unfortunate uncle still held the title of Earl of Arran. By the time of his succession King James had become King of England, and gone south. The King, however, wished to favour the young man, and was desirous that he should attend Court. But Marquis James preferred to remain in Scotland. In the long run he was prevailed on to go to London, and was there made a Gentleman of the Bed-Chamber, a Lord of the Privy Council, and Steward of the Royal Household. Early in 1617 he attended a Convention of Estates in Scotland, and was residing there when King James revisited it for the first time after leaving to ascend the English throne in 1603. During this visit he was in close attendance on the King, and entertained him at Hamilton Palace on his return journey. In & year or so Hamilton again went south, after endeavouring to induce the Provost of Edinburgh to influence the citizens to submit to the King in matters of ritual. In 1619 the King created him a peer of England as Earl of Cambridge and Lord Innerdale, and in 1621 he was made a Knight of the Garter.

To the second Marquis came the appointment which has made his name prominent in Scottish history. King James, through reckless extravagance, found his finances exhausted, and, having already been repeatedly voted supplies by the English Parliament, he could not at that moment very well make another application. Accordingly, recourse was made to Scotland, and the Marquis of Hamilton was despatched there as the King's representative, with commission to hold a Parliament in Edinburgh, and among other things to raise supplies. He arrived there on the 18th, and the Parliament met on the 25th July, 1621. The Commissioner opened with a long speech extolling His Majesty's merits and explaining his pecuniary necessities. The result was a subsidy equal to about £33,000. It was the King's intention that this same Parliament should ratify the Five Articles of Perth by which Episcopacy was to be imposed upon the Scottish Church, and this delicate matter was next taken up by the Commissioner. After a most determined opposition the Articles were carried by a majority of twenty-seven, on an assurance from the Commissioner that no further innovations would be proposed by the King. Hamilton, it cannot be questioned, manoeuvred the whole business, and therefore the ire of zealous-Presbyterians was then and afterwards strongly raised against-him.

At the close of the sitting, and just at the moment when the Commissioner was about to confirm the Articles by the-touch of the sceptre, a terrific thunderstorm suddenly burst over the place. A great darkness came on, illumined only by flashes of lightning. Rain came down in torrents, and hailstones-of enormous size also fell. After a delay of nearly a couple of hours the Parliament broke up in confusion and without the usual ceremonial procession. The Presbyterians regarded this-storm as an evident token of Divine displeasure against the-Parliament for interfering with the spiritual privileges of the people, and the day was long known as "the black Saturday.'''

The Marquis died suddenly at Whitehall in March, 1625, shortly before his Royal Master. When the King, who himself was then lying ill, heard the news, he is reported to have said, " If the branches be thus cut down, the stock cannot be-expected to survive long." It was boldly asserted that Hamilton had been poisoned on grounds of jealousy, either by the Duke of Buckingham or at his instigation. The King died very soon after, and Dr. Egelsham, who had been one of his physicians, expressly accused Buckingham not only of poisoning the King, but the Marquis of Hamilton also. Buckingham, however, was never judicially accused of the crime.12

The wife of the Marquis was Anna, daughter of the Earl of Glencairn, who is described as "a lady of firm and masculine-character," and of whom we shall have more to say later. They had issue James, third Marquis and first Duke, who succeeded; and William, afterwards second Duke; and three daughters.


James succeeded at the age of nineteen. For the next three years he remained in Scotland. He then received a pressing message from King Charles to come to Court. This he did, and had the Order of the Garter and a number of other offices bestowed upon him. He was afterwards sent abroad, by the King's desire, to assist Gustavus Adolphus in invading Germany. When Charles visited Scotland in 1633 the Marquis accompanied him and took part in the Coronation ceremonies. After this he seems to have retired from public life, until the people began to openly resist the order to use Laud's Service-Book in all the churches. Charles then specially commissioned the Marquis to settle these disorders; and in this task he naturally incurred a marked degree of popular odium. His efforts were useless, and he was obliged, after many negotiations and two journeys to London, where he seriously consulted and advised with Charles, to proclaim the meeting of the famous General Assembly at Glasgow in November, 1638. Hamilton then went south again, but returned in a year as General and Commander of a fleet with which the King meant to silence the Covenanters. It is related of his mother, Marchioness Anna Cunningham, that when her son the Marquis arrived with his fleet in the Forth she rode up and down the sands of Leith, carrying pistols in her holsters, and threatening to blow out the brains of her son should he cross her path to molest the Covenanters.8Whether this scared him we do. not know, but at any rate a truce was before long agreed to at Dunse Law, and the Marquis again retired into private life.

In 1641 Charles made his second visit to Scotland, and Hamilton, who was with him, was one of the intended victims of a plot known as "The Incident," whereby Argyll, Hamilton, and Lanark, his brother, were to be seized and carried on board a Royal frigate at Leith. The plot was discovered, and these lords withdrew to Kinneil House, and refused to meet the King. It is not clear, however, whether Charles was involved in the affair or not.

In April, 1643, the King, by a charter dated at Oxford, created the Marquis Duke of Hamilton, Marquis of Clydesdale, Earl of Arran and Cambridge, Lord Avon and Innerdale, with remainder to himself and the heirs-male of his body; whom failing, to his brother William and the heirs-male of his body; whom failing, to the eldest heir-female of the Duke's body, without division; and it was under this destination that his daughter, the Duchess Anne, in time succeeded. The Duke and his brother Lanark were slandered to the King, and the former was for a time imprisoned.


It must be remembered that during all this time the Duke's old mother was still alive. Her son's association with the King against the Covenanters, of whom she was a strong supporter, not only aroused her wrath, as we have seen, but caused her great grief. This can be gathered from her Will.9 That document was written with her own hand at Holyrood House on 4th November, 1644, and in the introduction she explains that she considers it her duty to put her house in order, lest she "should be chapit at on ane soudentie." Referring apparently to this imprisonment of her son, "my lord douck," she, in making him her executor and heir, leaves him her blessing, and prays the Lord to direct him and to grant that he may make the right use of this " visitation" that is laid upon him; also that he may have God's glory before his eyes, and look more to that than to all this world can give him. Then she says, there is one thing that she would beseech him to do above any other earthly thing, if ever he got out of prison, and that was to "mack chois of soum good woman to mache with," so that if it pleased the Lord his father's house might stand .in his person, which she prayed the Lord might be. (His first wife had died some years before, and their two sons had died young.) In her bequests she leaves him her rights and leases of her coal of Kinneil, and mentions that it had cost her much money, and servants did reap the profit; but now it was in so good case that he could not but make great benefit out of it. She counsels him to put faithful servants to it, and never to put it out of his own hands. She leaves him all her salt-pans, and advises him to build more, for she believes the profit will be great if God sent peace. She also leaves him the plenishing in her house in Kinneil, her new tapestry, and all other movables she either made or bought, except her silver saltfit and some little silver porringers which she left to her "dochtir." She further requested him to be " caynd to his sister and hir childring," for she believed she was a good woman and feared the Lord.

As for her son Lanark, who had also been, as a Royalist, opposed to the Covenanters, she prayed the Lord to hold his heart upright before Him, and make him now, after his past wanderings, a faithful servant in His cause, and let him never fall back from Him, lest his last state be worse than his first; she prayed God also to take a grip of his heart and reveal Himself, and let him know that in the day of death there is no comfort to be found but in Him, for all the monarchs and monarchies in the world could not give one moment's ease. A blink of the face of a reconciled God was a sweet thing; therefore, for Christ's sake, he was to seek Him in time, and away with the follies of Courts, for their ways were but wicked, and all their delights and sweetness in the •end would bring bitterness. These maternal solicitations concluded with, "Remembir this is the last saying of ane loving mother."

The closing events in the reign of King Charles are all so well known that they need not be recalled here. We must remember, however, that when the King was captured the Duke did all he could to obtain his release, just as he before that had—hopelessly, however, because of the King's obstinacy in repudiating the Covenant—done what he could to advance the King's interests. And we must also remember that when a last effort was made to rescue the King from the hands of Cromwell, the "Engagers" or band of Scottish Royalists who did so were led by the Duke. Cromwell easily defeated this force near Preston in 1648. The Duke was taken and imprisoned in various places, Windsor Castle being the last. He had an affecting interview with the King here on the latter's last journey to London. After the King's execution in January, 1649, the Duke escaped, but was re-taken. He was then tried at Westminster, and beheaded in the Palace Yard on 9th March. His remains were first sent to his house of Kinneil, and from there taken to Hamilton, where they were buried. He is said to have been of an affectionate and kindly temperament, and strongly attached to his brother. It was a good thing that his poor old mother was spared the grief of his trial and execution, she having been "chapit at," and left this troublesome world some little time before. The Duke did not marry a second time. He left two daughters—Anne, who became Duchess of Hamilton in her own right, and Susanna, who married the seventh Earl of Cassillis.


William, second Duke of Hamilton, was James' brother and successor, and the "Lainrick" of his mother's Will. He had been closely associated with his brother's Royalist exploits, and in 1640 was made Secretary for Scotland. William had frequently been in danger of imprisonment, but made wonderful escapes. While James was the leader^ of the "Engagers," it was William who conducted the correspondence with the English Royalists in connection with the movement; and when James went to Preston to meet his defeat William remained in Scotland, and did his best to uphold the King's party. William

James, First Duke of Hamilton.
( After the painting by Vandyck in Hamilton Palace.)

was seeking safety abroad when his brother was executed, and Scotland being then ostensibly under the Commonwealth and in a particularly unsettled state, he remained away. Cromwell about this time seems to have appropriated the lands of Kinneil, and bestowed them along with other appropriated possessions on General Monk for his military services in Scotland. King Charles II.—himself abroad—found William at The Hague, and they returned to Scotland together in 1650. William's return was objected to, and he withdrew from the Court and remained in retirement for a year. He then entered the Civil strife, and was actively engaged in attacking the English garrisons that were quartered in Lanarkshire. He was also prominent in the march of the Scots army with the King and General Leslie at its head, and in the defeats of that army at the hands of Cromwell at Dunbar Drove and Worcester. At Worcester he fought bravely, but was severely wounded, his leg being crushed and broken by a shot. Had the limb been at once amputated it is believed he would have recovered. This was delayed until it was too late, and he died on 12th September, 1651, nine days after the battle, aged thirty-five. Thus his brief career was closed. His wife was the eldest daughter of the Earl of Dirleton, and they had one son, who died an infant, and five daughters.


We have now reached that member of the Hamilton family whose interest in Kinneil and Borrowstounness was very great. This was Anne, Duchess of Hamilton in her own right. As her uncle William left no male issue, she succeeded him, in terms of the destination in the charter of Charles I. to her father. The Duchess Anne, or Anna as she is sometimes named, was born about 1636, and so was about fifteen when her uncle died. She lived to the long age of eighty, but her long and useful life was not without its heavy sorrows. When she was thirteen her father, the first Duke, was executed, and she lived to bemoan the termination of the career of her son, the fourth Duke, in a duel with Lord Mohun. She was a lady of great constancy of mind, evenness of temper, solidity of judgment, and unaffected piety.

In April, 1656, she married William Douglas, eldest son of the second marriage of William, first Marquis of Douglas. Four years after the marriage came the Restoration, when Charles II. returned from France and was restored to kingship at Whitehall, amid great rejoicing, in May, 1660. Duchess Anne and her husband soon came under Royal favour, and in September of the same year the King bestowed upon the latter for life the titles of Duke of Hamilton, Marquis of Clydesdale, Earl of Arran, Lanark, and Selkirk. A year later the Duchess received from the King a re-grant of all the lands and baronies of Hamilton, Kinneil, and others which had been resigned by her uncle to the King when they were together at The Hague in 1650.

The Duke's first business was to remove the burden of debt under which the Hamilton estates lay. He then gave some attention to public affairs.

To Duchess Anne and Duke William, her husband, much credit is due for the early development of "the village" of Borrowstounness. With them commenced a thoroughly practical interest in the struggling town and in their own House of Kinneil. On the latter they made very considerable alterations, greatly enlarging and embellishing it. And there is no doubt whatever that they made it a frequent place of residence. The reign of Charles II., as we know, was full of bitterness and bloodshed for Scotland over religious difficulties. In all this the inhabitants of the young town and of the surrounding district had their share; and, loyal as the Duke had originally been to the King, he seems to have resented the repeated attempts of Charles to put down Presbyterianism.

Hamilton most strongly and openly opposed the Duke of Lauderdale, who had become Secretary for Scotland, and was, unfortunately, exercising a remarkable influence over the King. Lauderdale, in the former reign, had been a zealous Covenanter.

He now turned about and became as bitter and severe against Covenanters and conventicles as he had hitherto been zealous for them. There is good evidence locally to show that Duke William was a keen practical business man, and we are not surprised to find that he strongly condemned Lauderdale's Government, setting forth a variety of grievances in the law, revenue, and commerce. This attitude lost him all favour at Court. On the accession of James II. that monarch' was anxious to get the Duke's support for his schemes of toleration during his short reign of three years, but he does not appear to have succeeded. On the contrary, it is stated that the Duke was one of the first in Scotland to welcome the coming of William, Prince of Orange. Moreover, he was President of the Convention of Estates, which met in 1690, and accepted William and Mary as King and Queen of Scotland. He died in April, 1694, at Holyrood, and was buried at Hamilton. William, we read, was not of polished manners; he was rough, but candid and sincere. His temper was boisterous, less calculated to submit than to govern. He wrote well, but spoke ill. It is said also that he had an expert knowledge of the families, laws, and history of his country.

To revert to their local connection, we will find in the first chapter on the Regality that King Charles II., in January, 1668, granted a charter in favour of Duchess Anne and her heirs, creating the lands and baronies of Kinneil, Carriden, and others, and the town of Borrowstounness, into a Regality, and naming the town to be the head burgh of the Regality. This was the first important step towards the proper local government of the district. An Act of the Scots Parliament in 1669, doubtless on the supplication of the Duke and Duchess, embodied the above charter, and, in addition, gave the burgh the privilege of a free port and harbour. There can be no doubt that the Regality Charter was obtained by the Duchess on her own and her husband's initiative in the interests of a town and district which seemed full of possibilities for superior and vassal alike. Then, in 1669, we discover the Duke and Duchess Anne supplicating Parliament and getting the Kirk and Parish of Kinneil suppressed and included in the Parish of Bo'ness, the Kirk of Bo'ness declared to be the Kirk of the United Parish, and appointing the Duke and Duchess to provide a manse and glebe in Bo'ness in place of the old manse and glebe of Kinneil.

Again, we find an Act of the Scots Parliament in favour of Duchess Anne changing the fourth fair of Borrowstounness from 18th November to the second Tuesday of July. Another Act is also found in 1672 authorising the Duke and Duchess to appropriate the vacant stipend to the repair of the Kirk and manse of Bo'ness. And in the "Register of Bandes" of our Regality Court there is recorded in October, 1717, an Obligement by the Duchess Anne to contribute £5 sterling yearly for defraying the expense of the communion elements at the celebration of the sacrament in the Kirk of Bo'ness.


We close this narrative with a sketch of Duchess Anne's son, James, Earl of Arran, fourth Duke of Hamilton. And here we may fitly say that the tragic termination of his life practically saw the withdrawal of the House of Hamilton from its important place in the historical annals of Scotland.

As we have already hinted, Duchess Anne long survived her husband, and she even outlived her son by four years. The Earl was thirty-six when his father died, and while the father, as we have seen, became alienated from Charles and from James, the son appears to have developed strong Jacobite leanings. It is very remarkable to find the father receiving William of Orange with open arms, while the son maintained his close adherence to the deposed James. In fact, it has been asserted that he was implicated in a treasonable correspondence, and twice imprisoned in the Tower of London, but released without prosecution. When his father died Duchess Anne, in the unusual circumstances just referred to, continued to manage her own affairs. Five years after, however, she, as Duchess in her own right, resigned all her titles into the hands of King William III. The King then, in August of the same year (1698), by a charter dated at Loo, conferred upon the Earl the titles and dignities of Duke of Hamilton, Marquis of Clydesdale, Earl of Arran, Lanark, Cambridge, and others. The grant, we are told, came as a great surprise to the governing party, as the Earl's disaffection was well known. It was, we may be jsure, not given out of respect for himself, but clearly as a recognition of the loyal services of his father and mother to the King and Queen. When he became Duke he remained as much a curious personality as ever. During Queen Anne's reign he bulked very largely and somewhat romantically in our national history. He formed a party in the Scots Parliament in defence of the Darien scheme for the colonisation of Panama, but did not carry his views. He at first strongly opposed the proposal for the Union of the Parliaments in 1707, but failed his party at a critical moment in the final stages of the struggle, and the measure was passed. This failure lost Hamilton the confidence of the Scottish people, and historians have severely criticised his actions at this time, fickleness, treachery, and self-seeking being among the things laid to his charge. We must recollect, in considering these things, that the Duke had a difficult position to fill. Though lukewarm towards William, it was different with Queen Anne, who was his kinswoman, and looked upon him as leader of the Scottish nobles; and as a personal friend and adviser as well. The Queen was strong for the Union. Hamilton was strong against it. The Queen implored Hamilton to withdraw his opposition, and the Queen prevailed.

When an attempt on behalf of the Pretender was made, in 1708, the Duke's Jacobite ardour seems by this time to have cooled, for he disapproved of it. In June that year he was chosen as a Representative Peer of Scotland, and on 11th September, 1711, Queen Anne created him a peer of Great Britain, as Duke of Brandon, County Suffolk, and Baron Dutton, County Chester. Any questioning of the Royal prerogative in such matters appears unconstitutional to a degree. But such was the high tension at which party politics stood, and so intense were the feelings of rage and jealousy which the bestowal of such a signal mark of Royal approval engendered in some breasts that an objection was entered against the dukedom. The points of objection and all other details connected with the fight on the Hamilton patent, although very interesting, cannot be given here.


The Duke, perfectly entitled as he was to take his seat as Duke of Brandon in spite of all objections and oppositions, evidently did not care to do so, and his descendants were deprived of the honour until 1782, when the point was decided in favour of Douglas, eighth Duke of Hamilton, who petitioned George III. to be summoned to Parliament as Duke of Brandon. The request was referred to the judges of the House of Lords, and they immediately decided he was entitled to such summons.

One significant and historically interesting action of the Duke's when he became a power at the Court of Queen Anne must not be omitted. We refer to the precedent by which, largely on the advice of the Duke, and by way of getting rid of the Marlboroughs, Queen Anne created twelve new peers, thus swamping the Whig lords with the new creations. Those days, it seems, were as sensational politically as any we have had since.

On 26th October, 1712, Queen Anne invested Hamilton with the Order of the Garter in addition to that of the Thistle, which he already held. Soon afterwards, on 15th November, 1712, his career was terminated in the celebrated duel in London with Lord Mohun, a notorious bully, both parties being killed. Thackeray, in his "Henry Esmond," introduces the Duke as one of his characters, and also describes the duel.

The Duke was buried at Hamilton. He was twice married, first to the eldest daughter of the second Earl of Sunderland, who died at Kinneil in her twenty-fourth year. She had two daughters who died in infancy. The Duke's second wife was the only child and heiress of the fifth Lord Gerard. By her he had three sons and four daughters. The sons were James, who succeeded as fifth Duke; William, who became M.P. for Lanark in 1734, and died shortly after; and Lord Anne, a son born 1709, who received his feminine name from Queen Anne, who was his godmother.

The name and career of Lord Anne Hamilton, or Lord Anne Edwards Hamilton, as he came to style himself, are of more than passing interest to us, because it is from him that the thirteenth and present Duke is directly descended. The genealogical history, however, is too long to be here referred to.

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