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The Scottish Nation

COLT, a surname originally French, introduced into Scotland by Blais-Coult, who fled from France during the persecution of the Huguenots, and repairing to St. Andrews, became a professor in the college there. He was the ancestor of the Colts of Auldhame in Haddingtonshire, and Gartsherrie in Lanarkshire. His son, Oliver Colt, was a lawyer in the time of Mary queen of Scots, and Oliver’s son, Adam Colt, was educated for the church, and became minister of Inveresk, being the second after the Reformation. He distinguished himself among those ministers who opposed the arbitrary proceedings of King James the Sixth in his disputes with the General Assembly. In 1601, when the king was headstrong to have the ministers of Edinburgh transported, he opposed the king face to face in the Assembly on their behalf. The king’s chief argument was that he himself, who was a principal parishioner in his chief city, could not be edified by them. Fr. Adam Colt answered that by that reason, when he is angry at any minister in the country, he may, if he will, have him transported, the preparative whereof had already passed in St. Andrews, which was very dangerous. The king called him a seditious knave, and asked, “Why he supposed such a thing/” “I suppose,” he added, “Mr. Adam Colt would steal neate; then he should be hanged.” [Calderwood’s History, vol. vi. p. 120.] In 1606 he was one of eight ministers sent for to court, by a letter from the king, under the pretext of conferring as to the state of the church, but the real object was to have them out of the way, until the king had got his designs more matured with regard to the establishment of episcopacy, under colour of a national assembly. With Messrs. Andrew and James Melville, and the others, he took part in the conferences with the king held at Hampton Court in September of that year. Finding that the intention was to detain them in England, the eight ministers used means for their license to return, and on March 8, 1607, gave in a supplication to the privy council for that purpose. On the 1st of May they received orders to depart, but to restrict themselves to various places, principally to their own parishes. Mr. Colt was minister at Inveresk for upwards of fifty years.

      His son, Oliver Colt, succeeded him, and was minister of Inveresk till 1679. The latter’s son, Sir Robert Colt, was an eminent lawyer, and solicitor to James the Seventh. He was the father of Adam Colt, an advocate and dean of faculty. Adam’s son, Oliver Colt, Esq. of Auldhame, in Haddingtonshire, and Inveresk, county of Edinburgh, married the Hon. Helen Stuart, daughter of Robert seventh Lord Blantyre, and had two sons and four daughters. The elder son, Robert Colt, Esq. of Auldhame and Gartsherrie, born in 1756, married in 1778, Grace, daughter of the Right Hon. Robert Dundas of Arniston, lord president of the court of session, and by her he had nine children. He died in 1797. His only surviving son, John-Hamilton-Colt, Esq. of Inveresk and Gartsherrie, born 12th May 1789, by his wife, Sarah, youngest daughter of Joseph Mannering, Esq., had three sons and five daughters. He died 10th September 1840. His eldest son, John-Hamilton-Colt, Esq., designed of Gartsherrie, was born 19th August 1811, and married, 13th May 1834, Jane, second daughter of George Cole Bainbridge, Esq. of Gattonside House, Roxburghshire; issue, three sons and two daughters.

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