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The Scottish Nation

BANFF, BARON, a title in the peerage of Scotland, conferred by Charles the First by patent, dated at Nottingham, 31st August 1642, on Sir George Ogilvy of Dunlugus, a descendant of a younger branch of the noble family of Airlie.

      Sir Walter Ogilvy of Auchleven, second son of Sir Walter Ogilvy of Lintrathen, high treasurer of Scotland, (who died in 1440—see article AIRLIE, ante, page 31,) married in 1437 Margaret, daughter and heiress of Sir John Sinclair of Desk-ford and Findlater, and had two sons, Sir James Ogilvy, ancestor of the earls of Findlater (see FINDLATER, earl of), and Sir Walter Ogilvy of Boyne, ancestor of the Lords Banff. The latter, by his marriage with Margaret, second daughter and co-heiress of Sir James Edmonstone of Edmonstone, obtained half of the lands of Tulliallan in Perthshire, and of the thanedom of Boyne in Banffshire, and by excambion with Elizabeth Blackader, the elder sister of his wife, and her husband, Patrick Blackader, the other half of that thanedom was obtained by him, in right of his wife, in exchange for her half of Tulliallan, 25th February 1486. The name of Banff, by which the family was afterwards ennobled, seems to be derived from the ancient thanedom of Boyne. In some old charters the town of Banff is spelled Boineffe and Baineffe. The district of Boyne has probably received its name from a conspicuous mountain in the neighbourhood of Cullen called the Binn.

      Sir Walter had three sons, viz. George, ancestor of the Ogilvies of Boyne, Bothiemay and Inchmartyne; Walter Ogilvy of Dunlugus, progenitor of the Banff family, and Sir William Ogilvie of Strathearn, appointed high treasurer of Scotland by John duke of Albany, governor of the kingdom, who granted him a charter of the lordship of the forest of Boyne, 6th February 1516. (Crawford's Officers of State, p. 370.) By his wife, Alison Rule, Sir William Ogilvy had a son, John Ogilvy of Strathearn, afterwards designed of Carnousie. The second son above mentioned, Sir Walter Ogilvy of Dunlugus, held the office of provost of Banff. He had a charter from his nephew, John Ogilvy of Strathearn, of certain lands in Inverness-shire, Carnousie in Banffshire, and Monycabock in Aberdeenshire, 31st March 1531. He died 29th November 1558, and was buried in the church of Banff; where a monument was erected to his memory. By his wife, Alison Hume, daughter and co-heir of Sir Patrick Hume of Fastcastle, he got a considerable estate. He had two sons, George and Walter, and a daughter, married to Sir Alexander Fraser of Philorth.

      The eldest son, Sir George Ogilvy of Dunlugus, married Beatrix Seton, fourth daughter of George fifth Lord Seton, and had three sons and a daughter, the latter married to William Forbes of Tolquhoun. He acquired the thanedom of Boyne from the elder branch of his family, and had a charter of all the lands of that thanedom, 20th March 1575. George, his second son, was the father of Sir George Ogilvy, first baronet of Carnousie, so created 24th April 1626.

      The eldest son, Sir Walter Ogilvy of Banff and Dunlugus, married Helen, daughter of Walter Urquhart of Cromarty, and had two sons, and a daughter, Beatrix, married to Alexander Seton of Pitmedden.

Sir George Ogilvy, the eldest son, was the first Lord Banff. He was created a baronet of Nova Scotia, 30th July 1627. During the civil wars he adhered to the royal cause, and after the army of the Covenanters had been expelled from Aberdeen by the Gordons, 15th May 1639, when it was proposed by Gordon of Straloch, the historian, and Burnet of Craigmylle, a brother of the laird of Leys, who were both peaceably inclined, to enter into a negotiation with the earl marischal at Dunnottar, Sir George Ogilvy would not listen to the proposal, but addressing Straloch he said, "Go, if you will go; but pr’ythee, let it be as quarter-master, to inform the earl that we are coming." He distinguished himself in the action against the Covenanters under the earl of Montrose at the Bridge of Dee on the 19th of June (Spalding's History. vol. i. p. 248). After the defeat of the Royalists there he retired to England, and in 1640 his houses and lands were plundered by the Covenanters. In 1612, as already stated, for his faithful services King Charles created him a peer of Scotland, under the title of Lord Banff to him and his heirs male for ever, bearing the name and arms of Ogilvy. His lordship died 11th August 1663. He was twice married: first to Margaret, daughter of Alexander Irvine of Drum, by whom he had a daughter Helen, married to the second earl of Airlie; and secondly to Mary Sutherland, a daughter of Duffus, by whom he had a son, George, second Lord Banff, and two daughters, who were both married.

      George, second Lord Banff, married Agnes Falconer, only daughter of the first Lord Halkerston, and had two sons, George, third lord Banff, and Sir Alexander Ogilvy, of Forglen, and four daughters. According to Douglas (Peerage, vol. 1. p. 193), Sir Alexander Ogilvy, the second son, became an advocate, but there is no evidence of this on record. (Haig and Brunton’s Senators of the College of Justice, p. 483.) He was created a baronet 29th June 1701, and in 1702 he was elected member of the Scots parliament, for the burgh of Banff, and continued to sit in it till the Union. In June 1703 he and Lord Belhaven were ordered into custody for some improper expressions in parliament, and on the 30th of the same month, on presenting a petition acknowledging their offence, they were brought to the bar of the house, by the officer of the guard, and after making a proper apology to the commissioner and the estates, were restored to their places. On the 25th March 1706 Sir Alexander was appointed a lord of session, and took his seat on the 23d July following, under the judicial title of Lord Forglen. The same year he was constituted one of the commissioners for the treaty of union, which he steadily supported in parliament. He died 3d March 1727. He was twice married, and by his first wife, Mary, eldest daughter of Sir John Allardice of Allardice, in the county of Kincardine, he had three sons and four daughters. His eldest son, George, died before him, as did also his second son Alexander; but the eldest son of the latter, Sir Alexander Ogilvy, baronet, became seventh lord Banff.

      In Fountainhall’s Decisions, under date March 28, 1685, there is reported a curious case, in which Sir Alexander Forbes of Tolquhoun pursued Alexander Ogilvy of Forglen, for taking away a gilded Mazer cup out of his house, rei vindicatione for restitution, or for the value. After the examination of witnesses, who proved nothing, it was discovered that Tolquhoun himself had some years ago given in this cup to a goldsmith in Aberdeen to be mended, and he having forgot, it was lying there unrelieved, for Tolquhoun’s not paying half—a—crown for it. The lords getting notice of this, proceeded to advise the case. Tolquhoun by a bill had craved delay, till witnesses were examined as to who had given the cup to the goldsmith, seeing that Forglen might have shuffled it in there, but the lords rejected the bill, and assoilzied Forglen, ordaining Tolquhoun to pay a thousand merks of expenses, and allowing Forglen to pursue him for defamation. In the following April Ogilvy brought an action against Forbes for defamation of character before the privy council, who fined him in twenty thousand merks, the half to go to the king, and the other half to the pursuer, and ordained the defender to crave pardon of the lords of session. Forbes obtained a letter from the king to the privy council, remitting the one half of the fine, but the lords of session, on reconsidering the case, ordered the other half to be paid to Forglen.

      The second Lord Banff died in 1668, and was succeeded by his eldest son George, third lord, a Roman Catholic. In 1705 he renounced papery, and a curious letter on the subject from his lordship and Mr. William Hunter, minister of Banff, who married his daughter, to Mr. Carstares, will be found in the Carstares’ State Papers, 736. Having signed the formula subjoined to the act of parliament for preventing the growth of popery, his lordship took his seat in the last parliament of Scotland on the first day of its last session, 3d October 1706. He voted with ministers on every question in support of the treaty of union, and his share of the twenty thousand pounds distributed on the occasion amounted only to eleven pounds two shillings. (Carnwath’s Memoirs, p. 415.) Had he been a little more hard to win he would doubtless have got more. His lordship was burnt to death in the castle of Inchdrewer, about four miles from the town of Banff, under very suspicious circumstances, in November 1713. "It is said that he had gone for some time to Ireland, engaged probably in some of the intrigues then carrying on in behalf of the Pretender; and it was suspected that the persons in whose charge he had left the castle, having pillaged some of his valuable property, murdered him immediately after his return, and set his apartment on fire for the sake of concealment. By some, it seems, the event was viewed as a judgment on his apostacy, and particularly with regard to some threats used by him of burning the Protestants." (New Stat. Acc. Banffshire, vol. xiii. p. 31.) He married Lady Jean Keith, third daughter of William seventh earl Marischal, and had a son, George, fourth Lord Banff, and a daughter, who was twice married, the second time to the above-mentioned Rev. William Hunter.

      George, the fourth lord, died in 1718. He married, 11th January 1712, Helen daughter of Sir John Lauder of Fountainhall, baronet, a lord of session, by whom he had two sons, John George, fifth lord, born 18th February 1717, and Alexander, sixth lord, a posthumous son, being born in 1718. Her ladyship married a second time James Hay, second son of Hay of Rannes, by whom she had three sons, and died 22d October 1743.

      John George, the fifth Lord Banff, was unfortunately drowned 29th July 1738. when bathing with Lord Deskford, afterwards sixth earl of Finlater, after dinner at the Black Rocks near Cullen. He had a short time previously married Mary daughter of Captain James Ogilvy, but had no issue.

      His brother Alexander succeeded him as sixth Lord Banff. He had the rank of captain in the royal navy 13th February 1741, and was commander of the Hastings man of—war in 1742 and 1743, when he captured a valuable outward bound Spanish register ship, a Spanish privateer of twenty guns, and a French polacre with a rich cargo, and other vessels. In 1745 he was appointed to the command of the Tilbury, and died, unmarried, at Lisbon in November 1746, in the 29th year of his age. His personal property was bequeathed to his brothers—uterine the Hays, while his title and estate were inherited by his cousin, Sir Alexander Ogilvy of Forglen, grandson of Sir Alexander Ogilvy, Lord Forglen.

      Sir Alexander Ogilvy, seventh Lord Banff, succeeded his grandfather in his estate and baronetcy in 1727; and in 1746 he succeeded his cousin as already stated in the Banff peerage. He married, 2d April 1749, Jean daughter of William Nisbet of Dirleton, and by her had four sons and five daughters, the eldest of whom, Jane, was married to Sir George Abercromby of Birkenbog, baronet.

      The eldest son, Alexander, having died young in 1763, William, the second son, became, on the death of his father, 1st December 1771, eighth and last Lord Banff. He was an officer in the Inniskillen dragoons, and served on the continent under the duke of York. He died, unmarried, at Forglen, 4th June 1803, when, all his brothers being dead without issue, his estates went to his sister, the Hon. Lady Abercromby, and the title became dormant. The Hon. Lady Abercromby died in 1838, and was succeeded by her son Sir Robert Abercromby of Birkenbog and Forglen, baronet. The title of Lord Banff is claimed by Sir William Ogilvie of Carnousie, baronet.

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