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HALYBURTON, a surname derived from lands of that name in Berwickshire. These lands, Meikle and Little Halyburton, almost contiguous to each other, were at first called only Burton, or Burghton, but a chapel (a pendicle of the church of Greenlaw) being afterwards built at one of them, it was thence called Holy or Hally Burton. Nisbet (System of Heraldry, vol. i. p. 102) thinks that it was from a holy man named Burton that it had its name.


HALYBURTON, of Dirleton, Lord, a title (forfeited in 1600) in the peerage of Scotland, conferred in 1440, on Sir Walter Halyburton of Dirleton, a descendant of the first person who assumed the name of Halyburton from his lands. This was Walter, son of David, son of Tracte, who, under the designation of Walterus de Halyburton, confirmed a donation of his father made in 1176, of his church of Halyburton to the abbacy of Kelso. Walter’s great-grandson, Sir Henry Halyburton, swore allegiance to King Edward the First, in 1296, for his lands in Berwickshire, and on 23d May 1308, he was one of the sureties for the liberation of Lamberton bishop of St. Andrews, then a prisoner in Windsor castle. His son, Sir Adam, had three sons: Sir Walter, Sir John, and Alexander. Sir Walter, the eldest son, was taken prisoner at the battle of Durham in 1346. He was first confined in the Tower of London, whence he was conveyed to the castle of Windsor, and had ten merks sterling allowed him to bear his charges on the journey, by King Edward the Third. He obtained his liberty with King David the Second in 1357, and the following year had a safe-conduct to go to England, to negociate affairs of state. In 1364 he was high sheriff of Berwickshire, and one of the Scottish commissioners at Muirhouselaw, 1st September 1367. He died about 1385.

      The second son, Sir John Halyburton, a valiant warrior against the English, was killed at the battle of Nisbet, in 1355. He married the daughter and coheiress of William de Vaux or Vallibus, lord of Dirleton, with whom he got that estate, and in consequence quartered the arms of Vaux with his own. His son, Sir John Halyburton of Dirleton, died in 1392. He married Margaret, daughter of Sir John Cameron of Bellegarno, coheiress with her sister, Jean, (the wife of Sir Nicol Erskine of Kinnoul,) of their father, whose great estates in the counties of Perth and Haddington were divided between them. He had, with a daughter, two sons: Sir Walter; and George Halyburton of Gogar, of which lands he had a charter from his brother, 8th June 1409.

      The eldest son, Sir Walter Halyburton of Dirleton, was one of the hostages for King James the First, on his liberation in 1424, when his annual revenue was estimated at eight hundred merks, and he obtained liberty to return t Scotland in 1425. In 1430 he was appointed one of the ambassadors extraordinary to the court of England, and one of the wardens of the marches. In 1439 he was constituted high treasurer of Scotland, and in the following year he was created a peer of parliament. In 1444 he founded at Dirleton a collegiate church. He died in 1449. By his wife, Lady Isabel Stewart, eldest daughter of the regent Albany, and relict of the earl of Ross, he had, with a daughter, four sons, namely, John, second Lord Halyburton of Dirleton, Walter, Robert, and William.

      Walter, the second son, married Catherine, daughter and coheiress of Alexander de Chisholm, with whom he got the barony of Pitcur, in the parish of Kettins, Forfarshire, of which he had a charter in 1432. The Halyburtons of Pitcur, of whom afterwards, acted a distinguished part in support of the Reformation in Scotland, in the sixteenth century.

      John, second Lord Halyburton, married Janet, daughter of Sir William Seton of Seton, by whom he had two sons; Patrick and George, who both bore the title.

      Patrick, third lord, married Margaret, eldest daughter of Patrick, first Lord Hales, but died without issue. George, fourth lord, had three sons: Archibald, Patrick, and Andrew. The eldest son, Archibald, predeceased his father, but having married Helen, daughter of Shaw of Sauchie, he had a son, James, fifth lord, on whose decease, his uncle, Patrick, became sixth Lord Halyburton of Dirleton. The latter died in 1506, leaving three daughters, coheiresses; namely, Janet, married to William, Lord Ruthven; Marion, to George, Lord Hone; and Margaret, to George Ker of Fawdonside, Roxburghshire. The sixth lord had a natural son, David Halyburton, in whose favour a legitimation passed the great seal, 19th April 1543. The title descended to the eldest daughter, Lady Ruthven, and remained in Patrick, her son. Her grandson, William, Lord Ruthven and Dirleton, was in 1581 created earl of Gowrie, and her great-grandson, John, third earl of Gowrie, forfeited it in 1600, (see GOWRIE, Earl of), and thus the title of Lord Halyburton of Dirleton reverted to the crown.


      The most celebrated of the Halyburtons of Pitcur, was James Halyburton, provost of Dundee at the era of the Reformation in Scotland, and uncle and tutor (or guardian) of Sir George Halyburton of Pitcur. In 1558, he was one of the commissioners sent by the Estates of Scotland to France to negociate the marriage of the infant Queen Mary to the dauphin. He early joined the lords of the Congregation, and in 1559, when the queen regent began to persecute the preachers of the reformed doctrines, she desired him to apprehend Paul Methven, one of the leading reformers, but, instead of doing so, he sent the latter a secret message to that effect, that he might escape in time. [Calderwood’s Hist. Vol. i. p. 439.] He was among the barons who went to St. Andrews on the 4th June of the same year, summoned there by the earl of Argyle and Lord James Stewart, afterwards the regent Moray, in consequence of the perfidious conduct of the queen regent towards the reformers. He had the command of the troops of the Congregation stationed on the high ground called Cupar moor, to oppose the army which the queen regent had marched from Falkland on the 13th of the same month, and he had so skilfully posted their ordnance as completely to command the surrounding country. To avoid bloodshed, however, a negociation was entered into, which led to a temporary truce. At the burning of Scone, soon after, he and his brother, Captain Alexander Halyburton, hastened with Knox and other leaders of the reformation to prevent acts of violence by the mob, but without effect, as the palace and abbey were entirely destroyed. Captain Alexander Halyburton was killed in a skirmish with the French soldiers at Leith in the following November. In 1560 the provost of Dundee was one of the leading reformers who met at Cupar for the purpose of electing commissioners to meet the duke of Norfolk at Berwick, to arrange the conditions on which Queen Elizabeth was to send an English army to their assistance. The instructions given them, signed, among others, by James Halyburton, are inserted in full in Calderwood’s History. In 1564 he was one of the commissioners appointed by the General Assembly to present certain articles against popery to the lords of secret council. In 1565, after “the Round-about Raid,” with the earls of Murray, Glencairn, and other leaders of the Reformed party, he took refuge in England, the queen and Lord Darnley being then too powerful for them. He afterwards fought at Langside on the side of the regent Moray. In 1570 he assisted the regent Lennox in dispersing the troops of the earl of Huntly at Brechin, when he appeared in arms on behalf of Queen Mary. In the subsequent skirmishes with “the queen’s men,” between Edinburgh and Leith, he was also actively engaged. He was with the earl of Morton, the leader of the king’s army, when he attacked the lords of the queen’s faction near Restalrig, on 16th June 1571. At this time he held the rank of colonel, and at a skirmish which took place on the evening of the last da of August of that year, he was taken prisoner by a party fro Leith, who had driven back to the Netherbow gate of Edinburgh a strong force of the opposite faction that had gone out to give them battle, but appears soon to have regained his liberty. In 1578 he was one of the commissioners who were directed by the king to hold a conference at Stirling castle, on 22d December, to settle the policy of the church, and in 1582, he and Captain William Stewart, brother of the notorious favourite, Colonel James Stewart, temporary earl of Arran, were commissioners from the king to the General Assembly which met on 9th October of that year. He was also one of the king’s commissioners in the Assembly which met 24th April 1583. He seems for a time to have lost the king’s favour, probably in consequence of having joined in the Raid of Ruthven, as, according to Calderwood, he was deprived of the provostship of Dundee, after he had held it for thirty-three consecutive years, when it was conferred on the earl of Crawford. In the Assembly of February 1588, he was again one of the king’s commissioners, and in this and the next Assembly, in August following, he was nominated one of the assessors to the moderator. He died the same year, aged 70, and was interred in the South church, Dundee, receiving a public funeral, at the expense of the corporation. His monument remained under the floor of the lateran (the clerk’s or precentor’s desk) on the north side of the pulpit, till the churches of Dundee were destroyed by fire in 1841.

      Pitcur was inherited by Agatha Halyburton, wife of the fourteenth earl of Morton, whose second son, the Hon. Hamilton Douglas, became possessed of it, and according to the entail, assumed the name of Halyburton. On his death in 1784, it went to his aunt, Mary, countess of Aboyne, whose second son, Colonel the Hon. Douglas Gordon, afterwards Lord Douglas Gordon Halyburton, succeeded to it, and on his death in 1841, his nephew, Lord Frederick Gordon, became the proprietor, also taking the name of Halyburton, being the lineal male heir and representative of that ancient family.

HALYBURTON, THOMAS, an eminent divine and theological writer, was born in December 1674, at Dupplin, near Perth. His father had been for many years minister of the parish of Aberdalgy, but was ejected at the Restoration, and died in 1682. He afterwards went with his mother to Holland, from whence he returned to Scotland in 1687, and, after attending the usual classes at the university, he entered himself a student of divinity. He was licensed in 1699, and in 1700 was ordained minister of the parish of Ceres in Fifeshire. In 1710, upon the recommendation of the Synod of Fife, he was appointed professor of divinity in St. Leonard’s college, St. Andrews, by patent from Queen Anne. In his inaugural discourse he chose for his subject, a work of the celebrated Dr. Pitcairn of Edinburgh, which contained an attack on revealed religion, under the title of ‘Epistola Archimedis ad Regem Gelonem albae Graecae reperta, anno aerae Christianae, 1688, A. Pitcairno, M.D. ut vulgo creditur, auctore.” Professor Halyburton died in September 1712, in his 38th year. He distinguished himself by his writings against the Deists, but his writings were all posthumous. They are:

      Natural Religion Insufficient; and Revealed, necessary to Man’s Happiness. Edin. 1714, 4to. This able and elaborate performance was written on confutation of the Deism of Lord Herbert and Mr. Blount.

      Memoirs of his Life, continued by James Watson. Edin. 1715, 8vo. With a Recommendatory Epistle by Isaac Watts. London, 1718, 8vo.

      The Great Concern of Salvation. In three parts. With a Recommendatory Preface by I. Watts. Edin. 1722, 8vo.

      Ten Sermons, preached before and after the celebration of the Lord’s Supper, Edin. 1722, 8vo.

      A complete edition of his Works, in one volume 8vo, appeared in 1836 in Glasgow.

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