Clan Gordon History

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Gordon.. Name of Scottish family having, according to genealogists, 157 main branches, taking its name from the village Gordon in Berwickshire, where a younger son of an Anglo-Norman nobleman settled in time of David I as Adam de Gordon. His great-grandson Sir Adam de Gordon (d. 1333) sided with Sir William Walace . Fought against Edward I; (Edward longshanks) justiciar of Scotland (1310-14); after Bannockburn, attached himself to Robert Bruce, who granted him lordship of Strathbogie in Aberdeenshire, which he renamed Huntly; killed at Halidon Hill. From him descended almost all of Gordons of eminence in Scotland.

Sir Adam' s great-grandson Sir Adam Gordon (d. 1402) was ancestor through his daughter Elizabeth, who married Alexander Seton (d. 1470), of Seton-Gordons holding earldom of Huntly (see below) and of dukes of Gordon and Sutherland. Earles And Marqusise Of Huntley And Dukes Of Gordon:

Alexander Se·ton-Gordon (d. 1470), 1st Earl of Huntly (created 1449), son of Elizabeth Gordon and Alexander Seton; accompanied Margaret of Scotland to France on marriage with Dauphin Louis (1436); held command at siege of Roxburgh Castle (1460).

His son George Gordon (d. 1502? ), 2d earl, was lord high chancellor of Scotland (1498-1501); m. Princess Annabella, daughter of James I of Scotland; from their second son descended the earls of Sutherland; from their third son were descended the Gordons of Gight, maternal ancestors of Lord Byron.

The eldest son Alexander Gordon (d. 1524), 3d earl, led Scots vanguard at Flodden (1513); twice member of council of regency (1517, 1523).

His grandson George Gordon (1514-1562), 4th earl, a regent (1536-37), supported Cardinal Beaton against Arran (1543); as lieutenant of north, crushed Camerons and Macdonalds (1544); lord chancellor (1546); received earldom of Moray (1548) but, when stripped of it through queen' s jealousy of hispower, joined lords of the congregation (1560) and died in revolt against royal authority.

His second son George Gordon (d. 1576), 5th earl, restored to his father' s lands and dignities (nominally, 1565; actually, 1567), allied himself with Bothwell and Queen Mary (1566); lord chancellor; aided in murder of Darnley, divorce of his sister from Bothwell, and Mary' s marriage with Bothwell; conspired for Queen Mary' s deliverance from Loch Leven Castle (1567), but seceded from her cause (1572).

His son George Gordon (1562-1636), 6th earl, was head of Roman Catholics of Scotland; took part in plot leading to execution of Morton (1581) and in conspiracy that delivered King James VI from Ruthven raiders (1583); raised rebellion in north (1589) but had to submit to king; conducted private war against earl of Moray and killed him (1592); after destruction of his castle Strathbogie by the king, had to leave Scotland (1595), charged with treason; pardoned, received into kirk, created marquis of Huntly and joint lieutenant of the north (1599).

His son George Gordon (d. 1649), 2d marquis, was created (1632) Viscount Aboyne ; refused to subscribe covenant (1638); as lieutenant of the north, driven from Strathbogie byMontrose; in civil war, took king' s side, stormed Aberdeen (1645); excepted from general pardon (1647); beheaded by order of Scots Parliament.

His grandson George Gordon (1643-1716), 4th marquis, was restored to family titles and estates (1661); created duke of Gordon (1684); held Edinburgh Castle for James II in Revolution of 1688.

His son Alexander Gordon (1678?-1728), 2d duke, also a Jacobite, as marquis of Huntly led 2300 men to Old Pretender at Perth (1715).

Lord George Gordon (1751-1793), agitator, 3d son of 3d duke of Gordon, rose to rank of lieutenant in navy (1772); M.P. (1774-81); headed Protestant associations organized to secure repeal of act relieving Roman Catholics of certain disabilities (1778); headed mob of about 50,000 in march from St. George' s Fields to houses of Parliament with repeal petition, precipitating so-called No-Popery, or Gordon, Riots (June 2-8, 1780); acquitted of treason through Erskine' s skillful defense; excommunicated, converted to Judaism (1786); convicted of libel on Marie-Antoinette (1787); lived at ease in Newgate, giving dinners and dances, until his death.

George Gordon (1770-1836), 5th and last duke, raised (1794) Gordon Highlanders regiment and commanded it in Spain, Corsica, Ireland, Holland; general (1819); commanded division in Walcheren expedition (1809); left dukedom extinct at death. Earles Of Sutherland :

Adam Gordon of Aboyne (d. 1538), 2d son of George Gordon, 2d Earl of Huntly, took title earl of Sutherland in right of his wife Elizabeth, Countess of Sutherland, sister of 9th earl.

John Gordon (1609-1663), 14th earl, active and popular Covenanter, was one of leaders at battle of Auldearn (1645); lord privy seal in Scotland (1649-51); raised force against Cromwell (1650).

His grandson John Gordon (1661-1733), 16th earl, served under William III in Flanders; privy councilor to Queen Anne (1704); commissioner for union of Scotland and England (1706); Scottish representative peer; lord lieutenant for northern counties (1715); put down Jacobite uprising (1715).

His great-great-granddaughter Elizabeth (1765-1839), sole heir of 18th earl, was recognized (1771) as countess of Sutherland; m. (1785) George Granville Leveson-Gower (q.v.). Viscounts K Enmure :

Sir John Gordon of Lochinvar (1599? -1634), 1st Viscount Kenmure (created 1633) and Baron Lochinvar, descendant of younger son of Sir Adam de Gordon (d. 1333); puritan Presbyterian.

William Gordon (d. 1716), 6th viscount; Jacobite; in rising of 1715 commanded in southern Scotland; proclaimed James VIII at Lochmaben; captured at Preston and beheaded. Earles And Marquis Of Aberdeen:

George Gordon (1637-1720), 1st Earl of Aberdeen (created (1682); Scottish statesman; according to tradition descended from Sir John (d. 1394), illegitimate brother of Sir Adam Gordon (d. 1402); member of Scots Parliament; chancellor of Scotland under James, Duke of York (1682-84); dismissed for leniency to nonconformists; supported treaty of union (1705-06).

George Hamilton-Gordon (1784-1860) 4th earl; succeeded grandfather as earl (1801); as special ambassador to Austria negotiated and signed Treaty of Töplitz (1813) creating alliance against Napoléon; signed Treaty of Paris (1814). British foreign secretary under Wellington (1828-30) and Peel (1841-46); established friendly relations with France, and with U.S. by Webster-Ashburton and Oregon treaties (1842, 1846). Headed coalition ministry (1852) which was forced into Crimean War; resigned (1855) upon vote of censure on mismanagement of war. His grandson

John Campbell Gordon (1847-1934), 7th earl, was lord lieutenant of Ireland (1886, 1906-1915); governor general of Canada (1893-98); created marquis of Aberdeen and Temair (1915)


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Last revised: 03/04/2017.