Epitaph Of George, 7th Lord Seton

(English Translation Below)


“Ad Australe Sacelli hujus latus condita sunt Corpora Georgii Setonii & Isabellae Hamiltoniae nobilissimarum et aetera memoria dignissimarum Animarum Domicilia.

“Georguis hoc nominee Quintus, Setonii Dominus et Familiae Princeps, Latifundia et Rem a majoribus tradita, difficilimis Reipub: temporibus honorifice tenuit et ampliavit.  Jacobo Quinto regnante natus, Adolescens, cum in Galliis ageret, Patre optimo orbatus.  Ad suos reversus, brevi post Regni Ordinum Decreto eodum remittitur, ibique unus Legatorum Mariae Reginae et Francisi Delphini nuptias et antiqua Gallorum Scotorumque Faedera sancivit firmavitque.  Domum regressus, Religionus et Sacrorum Innovatione, bellis tum externis tum civilibus flagrantem Patriam invenit, cum in Scotia Anglus Gallusque Germanus et Hispanus, Scoti etiam inter se dimicarent.  Aedes suas bis terque ab Anglis incenses et funditus deletas, devastasis etiam Praediis omnibus, in ampliorem denuo splendidiorem formam restituit.  In  omnem Fortunam liber semper et intrepidus, trucidato a perditissimis hominibus  Rege, acta in Exilium Regina a Pincipum Patribus, Majorum more semper constans stetit.  Hac firmitate saepe carcere et custodia afflictus, saepe in exillium actus, et bonis omnibus exutus, ejusmodo calamitates innumeras, Fidei in Patriam et veros Principes Testes, forti animo non modo tulit sed sprevit & superavit.  Tandem ab Jacobo Sexto, cujus auspiciis, Prudentia et Consiliis, Scotia procellis omnibus et difficultatibus liberata, splendori suo restituta est, Ipse etiam honorifice promeritis acceptus et habitus, majorum suorum Locum et Dignitatem tenuit, primusque ab eo ad Hen. III. Galliarum Regem Legatus, cum amplissimis ad firmandam Amicitiam mandates mittitur.  Quo in munere cum gratam acceptamque utrique Principum operam navaret, lethalum ipsi morbum  anteactae vitae labores adferunt, in Patrium regit, intra mensum ad Superos migrat, VI. Id. Jan. An. Domini CIOIOLXXXV, Aetat. Circiter LV.

“Domina Isabella Hamiltonia nobilissimis Parentibus nata, Patre nimirum D. Willielmo de Sanquhar Equite et Matre Katherina Kennedie Cassilissae Comitus Filia, Ipsa Forma, Moribus, omnibusque tum Amini tum Corporis dotibus insignis, et inter aequales praestans: Georgium hunc Setonii Dominum maritum nactum in adversis illi omnibus Adjumento et Solatio, in prosperis Ornamento fuit.

“Conjugi charissimo duodeviginti annos superstes cum communibus Liberis liberaliter et conjunctissime vixit; Quidquid a marito Fortunarum acceperat, cum Natis amanter communicavit, eorumque conatus omnes et honesta studia Bonis suis fovit et promovit, nec exiguous Pietatis hujus et maternae Charitatis fructus vivens percepit.  Liberorem muneribus, Dignitatibus et ornamentis, ipsa quoque clarior et illustrior, donec senio et articulorum Doloribus morbisque afflicta, Deo animam reddidit II. Id. Novemb. Anno Domini CIOIOCVI, Annum agens circiter LXXV.

“Tam claris Parentibus orta haec Soboles.

“Robertus Setonus primogenitus et primus Wentoniae Comes hoc Titulo ob propria et majorum merita ab Jacobo Sexto ornatus.

“Joannes Eques eidem Regi imprimis charus, ab intimis consiliis, Questura et pluribus muneribus auctus, in flore aetatis e vivis sublatus, Liberis tamen relictis.

“Alexander multis annis Senator, et ab intimis Consillis tum Princeps Senatus ab ipso ordine electus, demum a Rege prudentissimo qui primus Scotiam Angliamque in unum contulit Dominatum, utriusque regni Consiliorum Particeps, Fermelinoduni comes, et Regni Scotiae factus est Cancellarius.

“Willielmus Eques, Louthianae Vicecomes et unus tum Scotiae tum Angliae limitum e Praefectis et Procuratoribus.

“Margareta Filia, Claudio Hamiltonio Pasleto Domino nupto, Jacobi primi Abercorniae Comitis Mater, totiusque illius prosapiae Frantrum Sororumque dicti Comitis Faecunda Parens.

“Haec Posteri norint, et tanti Viri spectataeque adeo Foeminae memoriam coolant.  Virtutes aemulentur, bonisque Moribus bona verba.

“Magnorum Virorum Memoria non minus utilis est quam Praesntia.


A.S. = Anno Salutis

A.S.F.C.F.F. = Alexander Setonus Fermelinoduni Comes Fieri Fecit


English Translation from manuscript in possession of the Earl of Wemyss

“Near the south side of this chapel are deposited the bodies, once the habitation of the souls, of George Seton and Isabel Hamilton; souls truly noble, and worthy of everlasting remembrance.  George, of this name the 5th, honourably possessed and enlarged the ample estates and fortune transmitted to him by his ancestors in times of great disturbance in the country.  He was born in the reign of James the Fifth.  Being deprived of his most worthy father, when he was a young man, living in France, he returned home, and in a short time afterwards, by a decree of the Estates of the Kingdom, he is sent back to France, and there, as one of the Ambassadors, he negotiated and ratified the marriage between Queen Mary and Francis, Dauphin of France, and the ancient treaties between the French and the Scots.  Upon his return home, he found his country involved in the flames, both of foreign and civil wars, upon the change of religion and the forms of worship: when within Scotland, the English and French, the Germans and Spaniards, were engaged in war, and the Scots also fighting among themselves, his house having been more than once burnt to the ground, and entirely demolished, and all of his estates ravished by the English, he restored the whole anew upon a scale more extensive, and in a style more magnificent.  In every change of fortune always independent and undaunted, when his King was murdered by the most abandoned of men, and the Queen being driven into exile by the faction of the nobles, he, like his brave ancestors, always stood unmoved.  For this steady loyalty being often imprisoned and kept in close confinement, often banished his country, and stripped of all his fortune, he not only sustained with fortitude, but with fortitude , but even despised and surmounted innumerable distresses of that kind, which bore witness of his faithful attachment to his country, and his loyalty to its rightful Sovereigns.  At length, upon the accession of James the Sixth, by whose auspicious government, prudence, and counsels, Scotland was delivered from all its tempests and distresses, and restored to its antient splendour, he too was honourably received, and treated according to his merit, recovered his rank and dignity of his ancestors, and was sent by the King as his chief ambassador to Henry the Third King of France, with the most ample powers to confirm alliance between them.  In this high office, when he was performing services to the satisfaction, and with the favour of both Princes, the labours of his past life bring upon him a fatal disease.  He returned to his own country, and within a month after he went hence to a better state, on the 8th day of January, in the year of our Lord 1585, about the 55th year of his age.

            “Dame Isabell Hamilton sprung from parents of noble birth; her father being Sir William Hamilton of Sanquhar, and her mother Catherine Kennedy, daughter of the Earls of Cassilis, wa herself distinguished for her beauty, moral excellence, and all accomplishments both of mind and body; standing high in these respects among the ladies of her age.  Having got this George Lord Seton for her husband, she was his support and comfort in all his adversities, and his ornament in prosperity.

            “Surviving her dearest husband 18 years, she lived in a liberal and most affectionate manner with their common children.

            “All the jointure she had received from her husband she cheerfully shared with them in common, and with her substance cherished and promoted all their honourable endeavors and studies; nor did she reap in her own life time scanty fruits of this pious attention and maternal love, being herself rendered more respectable and illustrious, by the high offices, dignities, and honours of her children, until worn out with age, and afflicted with the gout, and other diseases, she resigned her soul to God, on the 13th. of Nov. 1604, being about 75 years of age.

            “Of these so illustrious parents this was the issue:-

            “1st, Robert Seton, their eldest son, the first Ear of Winton, honoured with this title by James the Sixth for his own merits and those of his ancestors.

            “2nd, Sir John, very high in favour with the same King; made a privy counselor, and raised to be lord high treasurer, and other great offices.

            “He was carried off in the flower of his age; yet leaving children behind him.

            “3rd, Alexander, many years a judge of the Supreme Court, and a privy counselor; then chosen president of the Court of Session, by the Court itself, was at length made a privy counselor of both kingdoms, by that wise being who first connected Scotland and England by the tie of a common  Sovereign, and was created Earl of Dunfermline and counselor of the kingdom of Scotland.

            “4th, William, sheriff of Lothian; and one of the lords wardens and administrators of the marches of Scotland and England.

            “5th, a daughter, Margaret, married to Claud Hamilton, Lord of Paisley, mother of James, the first earl of Abercorn, and the fruitful parent of all that flourishing family of brothers and sisters.

            “Let posterity know these things, and honour the memory of so great a man, and so distinguished a woman; let them imitate their virtues, and wish sweet repose to their pious souls.

            “The memory of great men is no less useful than their presence.”

Note:  That the word “counselor” is a mistake for Chancellor, as above noted for Alexander, the 3rd child of George Seton and Isabel Hamilton.

Also note:  Of particular importance is the phrase in the beginning of this Epitaph which states that George was 5th of this name.  Many writers, not knowing the history of the family have made the ignorant blunder assuming that this made reference to mean George was the 5th Lord Seton, when in fact it was referring to he being the 5th LORD SETON to be named, GEORGE SETON.  He was in fact, the 7th Lord Seton overall.

The Seton Collegiate Church, East Lothian, Scotland, UK, c/o Historic Scotland, Tel. +44 131 668 8600.