The Family and House of Gordon - Bydand - Do Well and Let Them Say Gordon! - Animo Non Astutia

The Great Garden of Pitmedden, of the Seton Baronets of Pitmedden.Cadets in the Setonl HouseholdArms of the 5th Duke of GordonThe first Gordon on record is Richard of Gordon, previously of Swinton, said to have been the grandson of a famous knight who slew some monstrous animal in the Merse during the time of King Malcolm III of Scotland. This Richard was Lord of the Barony of Gordon in the Merse. Between 1150 and 1160 he granted from his estate a piece of land to the Monks of St. Mary at Kelso, a grant which was confirmed by his son Thomas Gordon. Other notable Gordons from this time include Bertram de Gordon who wounded King Richard of England with an arrow at Chalons.


Alicia Gordon, 4th of the Gordon family was the heiress who married her cousin, Adam Gordon. Adam Gordon was a soldier who King Alexander III of Scotland sent with King Louis of France to Palestine. One tradition is that from Adam's grandson, Sir Adam all of the Gordons in Scotland are descended from. This Adam Gordon supported Sir William Wallace in 1297 to recapture the Castle of Wigtown from the English and Adam was made the Governor.

During the Wars of Scottish Independence Sir Adam Gordon who had supported William Wallace later supported Robert the Bruce. Adam was killed leading the Clan Gordon at the Battle of Halidon Hill in 1333 but his son Sir Alexander Gordon escaped and was the first Gordon to be deignated "of Huntly".
Chief Sir John Gordon was killed leading the clan at the Battle of Otterburn, where the English were defeated in 1388. His son, Chief Sir Adam Gordon was killed leading the clan at the Battle of Homildon Hill, also known as the Battle of Humbleton Hill on 14 September 1402. The chief left his only child, a daughter and heiress named Elizabeth Gordon who married by Royal arrangement,

Sir Alexander Seton who was the son of Sir William Seton, 1st Lord Seton, and who became as a result, 1st Lord Gordon.
Alexander Seton, 1st Earl of Huntly (died July 15, 1470), was a powerful 15th century Scottish magnate. He was knighted in 1439/40 and was Lord of Badenoch, & Cluny.
He was the son of Alexander Seton (d. 1440) (2nd son of Sir William Seton of that Ilk), by his spouse Elizabeth Gordon (d. March 16, 1439), daughter and heiress of Sir Adam Gordon of that Ilk (k. 1402 at Battle of Homildon Hill). He developed a strong relationship with William Crichton, the Chancellor of Scotland after 1439. He divorced his wife Egidia, daughter of Sir John Hay of Tillibody, in 1438 in order to marry Crichton's daughter Elizabeth. Before July 3, 1445, King James II of Scotland made him Earl of Huntly, a new creation. This was part of a deal to make peace between the Crichton and Douglas-Livingston factions in the Kingdom. He was embroiled in struggles against the Douglases, against the Lords of the Isles, and against the Lindsay Earls of Crawford.

The 1st Earl of Huntly had by his first wife a son who kept the name of Seton:
  • Sir Alexander Seton, ancestor of the Setons of Touch, Hereditary Armour Bearer's to the King; and the later Seton's of Abercorn, Baronets of Abercorn and de Jure Lord's Gordon.

By his second wife Elizabeth he had four sons and four daughters (all of whom took the surname of Gordon, including:

  • George Gordon, 2nd Earl of Huntly, directed his family's affairs in Alexander's later years and succeeded him to the earldom.

The 1st Earl of died at Huntly Castle, and was buried in Elgin Cathedral.

George Seton, (later Gordon), 2nd Earl of Huntly (before 1455 – 8 June 1501) succeeded his father and was Chancellor of Scotland from 1498–1501. He married Elizabeth Dunbar, the widow of the Count of Moray, on 20 May 1445. There were no children from the marriage; the two were married for only a short time before he obtained a divorce in order to marry Annabella of Scotland, daughter of James I of Scotland. The couple had at least one daughter, though some sources list them as having as many as six children. The Earl obtained an annulment on 24 July 1471 on the basis of Annabella of Scotland's consanguinity with Elizabeth Dunbar. He then married his mistress, Elizabeth Hay, on 12 May 1476. Gordon fought on the King's side against the Douglases during The Douglas Rebellion and helped secure a defeat at the Battle of Brechin. The 2nd Earl completed the building work that his father begun in constructing Huntly Castle. He died at Stirling Castle on 8 June 1501.

Huntly Castle, AberdeenshireMarquess of Huntly is a title in the Peerage of Scotland. It was created on April 17, 1599, for George Gordon, 6th Earl of Huntly, making it the oldest existing marquessate in Scotland, and the second-oldest in the British Isles, only the English marquessate of Winchester being older. The Gordon family descends from Sir Adam Gordon, of Huntly, who was killed at the Battle of Humbleton Hill in 1402. He was succeeded in his estates by his daughter Elizabeth, wife of Alexander Seton. Their son Alexander assumed the surname of Gordon in lieu of Seton and was created Earl of Huntly in the Peerage of Scotland in 1445. He was succeeded by his son, the second Earl. He served as Lord Chancellor of Scotland from 1498 to 1501. His younger son the Hon. Adam Gordon married Elizabeth, suo jure Countess of Sutherland. Their grandson John Gordon succeeded his grandmother in the earldom in 1535 (see the Earl of Sutherland for further history of this branch of the family). Lord Huntly's elder son, the third Earl, was a member of the Council of Regency in 1517. He was succeeded by his grandson, the fourth Earl. He was Lord Chancellor of Scotland from 1546 to 1562. However, he was killed the latter year and in 1563 an Act of Attainder was passed through Parliament with all his titles forfeited. His eldest surviving son George Gordon was condemned to death for treason in 1563 but was later pardoned. He obtained a reversal of his father's attainder in 1567 and served as Lord Chancellor of Scotland.

He was succeeded by his son, the aforementioned sixth Earl. He was several times engaged in rebellion against the king and had his titles forfeited in 1593. He was restored to his titles in 1597 and in 1599 King James created him Lord Gordon of Badenoch, Earl of Enzie and Marquess of Huntly in the Peerage of Scotland. He was succeeded by his elder son, the second Marquess.

In 1632, four years before his father's death, the sixth Earl was created Viscount Aboyne in the Peerage of Scotland in his own right, with remainder that the title should be passed on to his second son the Hon. James Gordon on his death or on the death of his father, whichever came first. Lord Huntly was a supporter of King Charles I during the Civil War and was beheaded by the Parliamentarians in 1649, with his titles forfeited. His fourth son Lord Charles Gordon was created Earl of Aboyne in 1660. On Huntly's succession to the marquessate in 1636 he was succeeded in the viscountcy of Aboyne according to the special remainder by his second son the Hon. James (see the Viscount Aboyne for further history of this title). On Lord Huntly's death in 1649 his remaining titles passed to his eldest son, the third Marquess. He was granted a remission of his father's attainder by the exiled King Charles II in 1651.

Huntly Castle Armourial PanelWhen he died two years later the titles passed to his son, the fourth Marquess. In 1661 the attainder of 1649 was revoked by Act of Parliament. In 1684 Lord Huntly was created Lord Badenoch, Lochaber, Strathavon, Balmore, Auchindoun, Garthie and Kincardine, Viscount of Inverness, Earl of Huntly and Enzie and Duke of Gordon. All four titles were in the Peerage of Scotland. He was succeeded by his son, the second Duke. He was a supporter of the Old Pretender. Gordon married Lady Henrietta, daughter of Charles Mordaunt, 3rd Earl of Peterborough and 8th Baron Mordaunt. Their eldest son, the third Duke, sat in the House of Lords as a Scottish Representative Peer from 1747 to 1752. He was succeeded by his eldest son, Alexander Gordon, the fourth Duke. Known as "Cock o' the North", he was a Scottish Representative Peer from 1767 to 1784 and served as Lord-Lieutenant of Aberdeenshire and as Keeper of the Great Seal of Scotland. In 1784 he was created Baron Gordon of Huntley, in the County of Gloucester, and Earl of Norwich, in the County of Norfolk, in the Peerage of Great Britain. In 1819 Gordon also inherited the barony of Mordaunt through his grandmother.

His son, the fifth Duke, was a General in the Army and served as Lord-Lieutenant of Aberdeenshire and as Keeper of the Great Seal of Scotland. In 1807 he was summoned to the House of Lords through a writ of acceleration in his father's junior title of Baron Gordon of Huntley. Gordon died without legitimate issue in 1836 when the dukedom and remaining titles created in 1684 as well as the titles created in 1784 became extinct. The barony of Mordaunt fell into abeyance between his sisters. Gordon's eldest sister, Lady Charlotte Gordon, married Charles Lennox, 4th Duke of Richmond. Their son Charles Gordon-Lennox, 5th Duke of Richmond, inherited much of the Gordon estates and assumed the additional surname of Gordon. In 1875 the dukedom of Gordon was revived when his son Charles Henry Gordon-Lennox, 6th Duke of Richmond, was made Duke of Gordon in the Peerage of the United Kingdom (see the Duke of Richmond for further history of these titles). The Duke of Gordon was succeeded in the marquessate of Huntly by his kinsman George Gordon, 5th Earl of Aboyne, who became the ninth Marquess (see the Earl of Aboyne for earlier history of this branch of the family). However, the House of Lords did not allow his claims to the lordship of Gordon of Badenoch and earldom of Enzie (although they had been created at the same time as the marquessate) while his claim to the ancient earldom of Huntly was also overlooked. Lord Huntly, who also held the subsidiary title of Lord Gordon of Strahaven and Glenlivet, had earlier been a Scottish Representative Peer from 1796 to 1807. In 1815 he had been created Baron Meldrum, of Morven in the County of Aberdeen, in the Peerage of the United Kingdom.

He was succeeded by his son, the tenth Marquess. He represented East Grinstead and Huntingdonshire in the House of Commons and served as Lord-Lieutenant of Aberdeenshire. His eldest son, the eleventh Marquess, was a Liberal politician and served briefly under William Gladstone as Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms in 1881. He was succeeded by his great-nephew, the twelfth Earl. He was the son of Lieutenant-Colonel (Granville Cecil) Douglas Gordon (1883–1930), son of Granville Armyn Gordon (1856–1907), sixth son of the tenth Marquess. As of 2007 the titles are held by the twelfth Earl's son, Granville Charles Gomer Gordon, 13th Marquess of Huntly, 9th Earl of Aboyne, 9th Lord Gordon of Strathavon and Glenlivet and 5th Baron Meldrum, who succeeded in 1987. He is Chief of Clan Gordon.

Several other members of the Gordon family have also gained distinction. The Hon. Lord John Gordon, younger son of the first Marquess, was created Viscount Melgum in 1627. Lord Adam Gordon (d. 1801), younger son of the second Duke, was a General in the Army. Lord William Gordon (1744–1823), second son of the third Duke, was a Vice-Admiral in the Royal Navy. Lord George Gordon, third and youngest son of the third Duke, sat as Member of Parliament for Ludgershall but is best remembered for his conversion to Judaism. Charles Gordon (1798–1878), illegitimate son of the fifth Duke, was an Admiral in the Royal Navy. Lord John Frederick Gordon (1799–1878), third son of the ninth Marquess, was an Admiral in the Royal Navy. He married Lady Augusta Fitzclarence, daughter of King William IV by his mistress Dorothy Jordan. Laurence George Frank Gordon (1864–1943), grandson of Lieutenant-Colonel Lord Francis Arthur Gordon (1808–1857), sixth son of the ninth Marquess, was a Brigadier-General in the Army. Lord Douglas Gordon, fourth son of the tenth Marquess, was Member of Parliament for Huntingdon.

Before the passing of the Peerage Act 1963, which granted all Scottish peers a seat in the House of Lords, the Marquesses of Huntly sat in the House of Lords in virtue of their junior title of Baron Meldrum, which was in the Peerage of the United Kingdom.

The family seat is Aboyne Castle. The family also previously owned Huntly Castle, Huntly, Aberdeenshire.


Alexander Gordon, 4th Duke of Gordon.Earl of Huntly (1445)

Marquesses of Huntly (1599)

Dukes of Gordon (1684)

Marquesses of Huntly (1599; Reverted)

Subsidiary titles: Earl of Aboyne and Lord Gordon of Strathaven and Glenlivet (1660; Peerage of Scotland), Baron Meldrum (1815; Peerage of the United Kingdom)

The Heir Apparent is the present holder's eldest son Alastair Granville Gordon, Earl of Aboyne (b. 1973).
The Heir Apparent's Heir Apparent is his son Cosmo Alistair Gordon, Lord Strathavon (b. 2009).

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